When family-run Tyneside business Ford Component Manufacturing was looking to employ someone with higher level skills, the management decided taking on a graduate was the only way to go.
The award-winning company, which specialises in the precision machining and pressing of components for the aerospace, defence and industrial markets, however, specifically wanted to recuit an individual studying in the North East.
It therefore went to Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and advanced manufacturing, to support it through the process.
“It was excellent experience,” said financial director Chris Ford.
“Semta sent us a number of CVs as well as putting us in touch with both Newcastle and Sunderland Unversities’ career advisory services.
“As a result, we picked nine graduates for interview.
“The standard was exceptionally high, which made it a very difficult decision.”
In the end, though, it was Craig Wilde who was appointed as the company’s new IT support technician, following the completion of a BSc (Hons) in computing science from Northumbria University.
To make matters even better, Ford received a £1,000 graduate recruitment contribution from Semta in addition to a six-month salary subsidy from Sunderland University.
“The graduate offer was the key factor between recruiting or otherwise,” Mr Ford said.
“We wanted to bring someone in with no preconceptions of the business and to train them up.
“It is always a risk taking on someone without a lot of work experience, especially for SMEs, but Semta made the process so much easier.”
Ford Component Manufacturing Ltd and related business Ford Aerospace have two sites in South Shields and one in North Shields.
Between them, they have a 160-strong workforce and this year jointly surpassed £11m of sales for the first time, including £2m in exports.
By 2016, they are aiming for £15m of sales.