An engineering firm in the North East took a hands-on approach to address the skills gap by inviting 16 Year 10 students from Whitley Bay High School to a World of Work Day.
The group took part in activities at Fabricom Offshore Services head office in Longbenton, where they were taught about the importance of the oil and gas industry and met two of six apprentices taken on by the company in September 2012.
The visit coincides with the announcement that Fabricom Offshore Services have reached more than 4,000 students from over 20 schools in the last 12 months. Through a special programme of activity, STEM ambassadors from the company have been visiting local schools and colleges across North Tyneside running training sessions, assemblies and awareness events.
The STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) aims to introduce young people to potential career paths in what is now an increasingly scientific and technological society. Schools taking part include Churchill Community College, Burnside Business and Enterprise College and the Excelsior Academy.
Fabricom, which has offices in Newcastle, Aberdeen and Teesside, has 320 employees and specialises in engineering, design, procurement and project management supporting offshore construction, installation and commissioning.
John Riddell of the Newcastle Education Business Partnership, said: “The awareness sessions from Fabricom Offshore Services are always a great success and are very well received by the students.
“These events are impossible without the time and commitment given from organisations such as Fabricom and the fact that the students speak to someone from the ‘real world’ is always greatly appreciated.”
As a natural follow-on from the STEM initiative, Fabricom provides a one-week work experience placement for 15 to 18-year-olds.
Since setting up its academy at the start of the year, Fabricom Offshore Services is already on track to make a vital contribution to the industry in ensuring the next generation of engineers.
More than 30 people are already undergoing apprenticeships, graduate training programmes and professional development schemes at the academy with another intake of about 12 expected this year. The academy’s four-year modern apprenticeship scheme has recently been accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Elaine Roy, learning and development lead at Fabricom said: “It is essential that we as a business embrace the local communities and help to broaden the career aspirations of local young people. We do this by helping them relate the subjects they enjoy at school to real-world careers experience and highlight job opportunities available to them such as our apprenticeships or graduate schemes. The students thoroughly enjoy the experience, gaining additional skills while having fun and are given the opportunity to ask questions to people already carrying out the jobs that they are interested in. The STEM work also helps us to develop our existing staff by providing them with additional skills gained when designing and delivering the various activities.”