RECORD BREAKERS

TEES Valley firms have won praise for investing in the future of young workers.

TEES Valley firms have won praise for investing in the future of young workers.

The TTE Technical Training Group said 89 students, a record number, have been sponsored by local businesses to help them complete their training.

The sponsoring employers include Corus, Cleveland Potash, United Biscuits, Artenius, SembCorp Utilities and Middlesbrough-based Dormer Machine.

Keith Leslie, TTE’s apprenticeship business director, said: “There are a growing number of employers who see sponsoring apprentices as an investment and not a cost.

“They have shown real foresight in planning for the long-term development of the workforce.”

The 89 Advanced Apprentices have already completed their two-year ‘off the job’ training at TTE’s Centre of Vocational Excellence in South Bank.

Among the employers working with TTE is, for the first time, Darlington-based engineering company Amec. It is sponsoring seven apprentices through the two-year programme.

Working as part of Amec’s contracting teams at Sabic International, Dow Chemicals and Invista at Wilton International, the

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apprentices will learn new skills, which can be directly applied on site.

They can also draw on their knowledge gained in TTE’s workshops and classrooms.

The students will spend two years as part of their sponsor’s workforce, gaining vital practical experience.

They will be monitored in their new working environment by TTE assessors as they aim to achieve Level 3 vocational qualifications.

TTE’s latest apprenticeship achievement follows a rise in the number of students signed up to its training centre-based programmes for 2007.

More than 230 students began training this month on TTE’s eight apprenticeship schemes including the Student Engineering Programme and the Tees Valley Production Technician Studentship.

Mr Leslie added: “Securing sponsorship for 89 apprentices is a significant achievement for TTE and demonstrates the positive impact we are having on the skills gaps which exist within Tees Valley industry.”

Nick Walters, Amec operations manager, added: “We are pleased to have sourced these apprentices from TTE.

“They have shown a good aptitude so far in their training and will form an important part of our maintenance craft teams in the future.”

Visit www.gazettelive.co.uk to view a video on the apprenticeship initiative.

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