Sunderland-based NAC Group trailblazing new generation apprenticeships for the North East

Wearside firm to lead Government's pioneering training scheme in the automotive sector, which has been hit by a skills shortage

Monty Rakusen's Studio NAC Group apprentices at work
NAC Group apprentices at work

In the midst of National Apprenticeships Week, the Sunderland-based training provider, NAC Group, has announced that the North East’s automotive industry is to kick-start the Government’s pioneering Trailblazer apprenticeships later this year.

The business, which will take on its first Trailblazer apprentices in the autumn, has given its backing to the initiative, intended to make apprenticeships more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers.

As well as helping boost the region’s automotive industry, NAC also looks set to be appointed as a national specialist supplier to the food manufacturing sector as it too makes the shift towards the new style of industry training.

According to the Government, Trailblazer will totally transform the current apprenticeship system, ensuring the route becomes a genuine alternative to a university degree by attracting high calibre individuals on to programmes that have been designed and driven by business.

NAC Group, which has created more than 2,000 apprenticeships and trained more than 5,000 people in the last five years, says it is confident the changes will address the challenges the automotive sector and others face in meeting the widening skills gap created by an ageing workforce and the increased need for greater technical ability.

To meet the demands of Trailblazer apprenticeships and attract the best possible candidates, the group is already involved in a school engagement programme designed to enthuse students as young as nine about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and introduce them to the career possibilities within automotive manufacturing.

NAC Group managing director Paul Robson said: “Trailblazer will be one of the biggest changes to apprenticeships we have seen for decades.

“The origin of the programme comes from industrial powerhouses such as Germany, where apprenticeships are held in far greater esteem and attract a high calibre of candidates and technical training is intense and employer-led.

“The automotive industry is one of the first industries to launch Trailblazers so we are very excited to be involved at the very beginning and are confident that this employer-led approach will see apprenticeships gain the prestige and recognition they have elsewhere around the globe and that employers will be able to attract highly capable individuals who see them as a viable alternative to university degrees.”

NAC Group, a leader in specialist training for the automotive industry, offers a range of dedicated courses and work-based programmes for school leavers targeting a career in the sector.

It also operates bespoke employer-led training programmes in pop-up locations around the UK, primarily supporting the manufacturing and distribution sectors.

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