A total of 24 teenagers have seized the chance to forge top engineering careers through a new apprenticeship scheme linking a Newcastle school with Rolls-Royce.
The trainees from Excelsior Academy’s sixth form college will begin working in the world-famous engine maker’s North East Training Centre in September with the prospect of bright careers with leading engineering firms lying ahead of them.
The four-year engineering apprentice scheme sees the teenagers learning skills such as welding, fabrication, machining, computer aided design and electrical wiring. This practical experience is combined with classroom work at Excelsior for the first 12 months.
After that, the apprentices head out to work with North East employers, completing their remaining three years of training under the watchful gaze of Rolls-Royce staff who will monitor and supervise their progress.
Rolls-Royce’s apprenticeship programme boasts an outstanding track record of placing graduates from its North East training centre with engineering companies across the region, equipping apprentices with skills that are in demand globally at a boom time for the engineering sector.
This is first time the first time the centre, based on Scotswood Road, Newcastle, has linked up in such a way with a school in the region.
The students from the nearby Excelsior Academy on Denton Road will gain an NVQ Level Two in Performing Engineering Operations and a BTEC National Diploma in Engineering as part of the apprenticeship scheme.
Steven Bolton, Rolls-Royce Training Centre team leader, said: “This is an unbelievable start to their working lives.
“We deal with a couple of hundred engineering firms in the North East and they know the calibre of the apprentices and the skills they have when they leave us which is exactly what they want in new employees.
“Everything is here for the apprentices and if they show the right commitment and attitude this will set them on the road to a successful career for the rest of their lives.”
Excelsior specialises in business enterprise, preparing its pupils for life after education.
It is running its own apprenticeship programme within the academy, giving students the opportunity to begin their working career there.
The latest initiative has come about thanks to the support of academy sponsor, Lord Laidlaw.
Rolls-Royce traditionally recruits 120 apprentices aged between 16 and 18 every year into its training centre, and will expand that number to 144 from September to accommodate Excelsior trainees.
It is currently working with 93 apprentices at its North East training centre, 78 of whom have already found employment with regional engineering companies.
A further 26 jobs are now set to become available for the remaining apprentices to apply for in the coming weeks.
Bolton added: “The skills they will learn are transferable right across engineering worldwide and we are delighted to be working with the Excelsior students to give them such an opportunity in an industry which offers so much.”
Excelsior Academy executive principal, Phil Marshall, said: “We try to give every pupil the best possible start to their working lives and our enterprise with Rolls-Royce is something we are very proud of.
“They are at the pinnacle of global engineering and will give our apprentices the skills and know how to secure the best possible career in an industry which offers so many opportunities in the North East and across the world.”
Excelsior apprentice Hasan Ahmed, 17, said: “I want to be an engineer in a good job and this course will prepare me to be able to do that.”
Another, Nauman Ahmad, also 17, said: “I have lots of ideas and I like creating and building.
“I’d like to work somewhere similar to Rolls-Royce.
“What I’ve heard about the apprenticeships here is everything I hoped it would be.”
Joseph Temple, an Excelsior technology teacher who has led the venture between the academy and Rolls Royce, said: “This apprenticeship scheme with Rolls-Royce will be a rolling programme offering our students the opportunity every year to be trained by one of the world’s greatest engineering firms.
“Employers snap up apprentices from Rolls-Royce’s training centre because they know they have been trained to the highest possible standard.”