Engineering candidate shortage in the North East is highlighted

The engineering sector in the North East is suffering from a lack of talented young people, claim industry leaders

Keith Taylor From left, Graeme Parkins, managing director of Dyer Engineering, with student George Etchingham, Tony Wilson of domnick hunter, and students Charlotte Brass and Oliver Allan
From left, Graeme Parkins, managing director of Dyer Engineering, with student George Etchingham, Tony Wilson of domnick hunter, and students Charlotte Brass and Oliver Allan

Businesses in the North East are crying out for talented young people to take up careers in engineering, industry leaders have revealed.

Addressing students set to attend a unique engineering school due to open this year, some of the region’s key directors in the sector said the work and vacancies were there, but the candidates were not.

Newcastle’s Discovery School will offer 14 to 19-year-olds traditional qualifications, but will focus on the STEM subjects with the aim of preparing its pupils for careers in engineering and the process industries. Through it, the curriculum will be delivered in a different way, with lessons largely taking the form of hands-on projects, based in labs and workshops, rather than classrooms.

A number of business leaders in the region are working with principal Dr Wendy Allen to ensure pupils gain the experience and skills required.

Graeme Parkins, joint owner of Dyer Engineering in County Durham, said he had joined forces with Discovery School in a bid to encourage more young people to enter the profession.

“I think there is a big problem with our education sector because it isn’t linking up with industry and responding to the needs of businesses,” he said.

“We have countless jobs and opportunities, but we do not have the talent coming through and that is a big problem.

“We have the space, the machinery, the clients and the vacancies for graduates and apprentices, but we do not see the people.

“We have taken on about 14 young people in the last two years. We do have great kids coming in, but it can be hard work to find them. With the launch of Discovery School, we hope to have a steady stream of young people coming through who we can readily employ.”

Tony Wilson, general manager at domnick hunter Filtration and Separation Division, which is part of Parker Hannifin, said: “We are delighted to be working with Discovery School because we are thinking about our engineering needs of the future and we want to open our doors to these students, so they can see what we are all about.

“We want these students to come and work with us on real projects. We will expose them to engineering challenges, using the latest technology and methods and, in return, hopefully, we will be helping to create the amazing young engineers of the future.”

Discovery School will initially take Year 10 and Year 12 students this year.

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