The Port of Tyne has completed its largest apprentice recruitment drive to date.
Throughout 2013, the company took on 12 apprentices across areas as diverse as finance, security and marketing.
They joined four engineering apprentices, taking the total in training at firm up to 16.
Geoff Gillon, director of human resources, said: “People are at the heart of every thriving company and as a major North East employer we have made bringing young people into our business a key priority. Developing the capability of our workforce is crucial to our economic competitiveness and apprenticeships are good for business.
“They provide individuals with the first step on a career and the business with future employees and growth, in turn bolstering the economy.”
Named North East Business of the Year 2013, the Port’s contribution to the North East economy is estimated to be around £500m GVA per annum, supporting 10,000 jobs Investment of over £120m throughout the past 10 years has created the infrastructure to deliver continued growth at its diverse businesses, including conventional and bulk cargoes, car terminals, cruise and ferries.
Katie Radley, 18, recently joined the Port as an accountancy apprentice and is attending college one day a week to work towards the ATT (Association of Tax Technicians) professional qualification.
“I always wanted to work with numbers and saw this opportunity and grabbed it with both hands,” she said.
“And the beauty of an apprenticeship is that the learning techniques that I get at college can be applied straight away, giving me more practical experience.”
Group financial controller Graeme Dixon was equally enthusiastic, saying: “Katie’s enthusiasm is infectious, and brings fresh energy to the whole team.”
Andrew Harkins, the Port’s first ever security apprentice, who has already gained some training certificates in event cover, physical intervention and conflict management, likewise spoke of the benefits he has gained.
“I’m 21 now and in five years’ time I hope to develop my career through the apprenticeship and overtime progress a lot further in the industry,” he said.
Andrew’s manager, security supervisor Mick Robinson, added: “It is good that the Port of Tyne is responding to the difficulties so many young people face in finding a job by providing this step on to the ladder. Even though it’s an old concept, it’s very forward thinking.”
The Port is planning to develop its programme, recruiting a further nine apprentices this year.