A SOUTH Tyneside training and business improvement group which has backed apprenticeship schemes in other companies for years is now taking on its own apprentices.
The HarperCo group, based at Monkton Business Park in Hebburn, has taken on Kane Hughes, Liam Armstrong, Sarah Clements, Chloe McHaffie, Max Kirkham and Hannah Potter.
Group chairman David Harper said: “After the difficulties of the economic downturn over the past couple of years, we’re really pleased to be investing in HarperCo’s future in this way.
“We see this as a really positive step and we’re excited to see what our new apprentices can bring to the company with their enthusiasm and new perspective
“A large part of the training we deliver through our training business, Talent Training UK LLP, is apprenticeship related and we fundamentally believe in the benefits apprentices can bring to a business, large or small. By recruiting our own team of apprentices we are showing we stand by this belief.”
The appointments, which are based in training, sales, data processing and vetting, are part of a much wider growth strategy at the company following its decision to move its 60 staff to the business park last year after outgrowing its original base in the Old Print Works near the High Level Bridge in Newcastle.
The group, which also has offices in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, has earnings approaching £10m and it is aiming to hit the £100m figure in three years.
The company grew out of Talent Training, which David has headed since 2001. He bought out his business partner last year and created HarperCo, which he has grown from a regional to a national operation. HarperCo Ltd’s group of companies also includes HCO Vetting, HCO Digital and Consult.
The firm’s apprentice recruitment has been welcomed by South Tyneside Council. Councillor Jim Foreman, lead member children and young people, said: “The council is totally committed to tackling unemployment and raising skills, especially among our young people who are the workforce of the future.
“By taking on local apprentices, HarperCo is ensuring that our young people are given help to get on the first step of the ladder and don’t have to leave the area to get into training and work.”
David said: “HarperCo intends to make this apprentice recruitment an annual event within the business. I’m very keen to make sure we do this each year to ensure we always have new ideas and new talent coming through the business – so this year’s intake will lead the way for future generations of apprentices. No pressure!”
The news comes in the midst of The Journal’s campaign to create 500 apprentices in 100 days, which has signed up 341 trainees in less than six weeks.
The campaign, launched in association with the National Apprenticeship Service and supported by the North East Chamber of Commerce, broke its previous target of 100 apprentices in under three weeks.