Eight North East apprentices have returned from Germany after putting their skills to the test at a global manufacturing facility.
The students, who are signed up to manufacturing and engineering courses with S. W. Durham Training (SWDT) Ltd, undertook a 17-day exchange programme, working with Siemens in Mülheim an der Ruhr, and learning first-hand how the world-leading producer of turbo sets, steam turbines and generators operates.
The learners, who are employed by businesses across the North East including Mitre Plastics, Quorn and ADMR Electric Motor Rewinds, also undertook computer aided design (CAD) training programmes.
Nigel Davison, centre coordinator at SWDT, who organised the Lifelong Learning Programme exchange, known as the Leonardo Mobility programme, said that it represented a unique opportunity for the young apprentices to gain the technical and life skills needed to succeed in their careers.
“SWDT prides itself in building quality partnerships with overseas institutes and has achieved an excellent reputation throughout the regions in which it operates,” he said.
“Siemens is renowned as one of the world’s most innovative and successful businesses, so the fact that our young apprentices have the chance to travel over to Germany and find out more about the cutting edge techniques they put in place is fantastic.
“The project is doing a remarkable job in transforming students who take part in it. However it is about much more than improving their technical skills and is a chance for each of them to gain invaluable life skills, including learning the foundations of a new language, that will set them apart when they embark upon their respective careers.”
As part of the project, 25 second-year apprentices from Germany will visit the North East in August to learn more about UK manufacturing.
During this time, they will visit SWDT’s multi-million-pound Newton Aycliffe CORE Centre to get an insight into the North East’s growing engineering sector.
The exchange programme is designed to get apprentices thinking about opportunities in manufacturing on a global scale.
SWDT chief executive Trevor Alley said: “The Leonardo Project has been invaluable and provided the apprentices with an excellent opportunity to discover first-hand how their skills can be transferred to businesses right around the globe.
“The North East really is a hotbed for manufacturing and engineering, but we want to broaden the horizons of our young people and show them that their learning can be applied to businesses around the world, not just in the UK. Many of our former apprentices have gone on to have a career that takes them right around the world, so it really is an eye-opening experience for our young people.
“The quality of the engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships we provide from our CORE facility are absolutely at the cutting-edge, and the young people who undertake the exchange will see very quickly that they will be well equipped to work with national and international firms once they have completed their training.”
Established in 1967, SWDT provides training across the North East, as well as North and West Yorkshire.