Bus operator Go North East has extended its engineering training scheme with the recruitment of eight apprentices.
The scheme, delivered in partnership with Gateshead College, was launched in 2014 to tackle the challenge of an aging workforce.
Eight new apprentices, with an annual learning salary of £8,400, will eventually become body repair, mechanical and electrical engineers.
After completing the four-year programme the apprentices secure permanent full-time jobs at one of the company’s eight depots and gain a Transport Engineering Maintenance and Technical Certificate.
Go North East’s chief engineer, Kirk Trewin, said: “We are investing significantly to modernise our bus fleet but it is just as important to maintain and reinvigorate our workforce with new talent.
“This is why we have made the commitment to new apprentices and working with an expert training partner in Gateshead College.
“We want to guarantee engineering skills and expertise are not lost as people retire, ensuring that we are able to continue to provide the best service for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who rely on our services.”
Although primarily aimed at 16 to 18 year olds, the apprenticeship is open to anyone who has gained or is expected to achieve four GCSEs at grade A to C or equivalent including English, Maths and Science.
Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “An apprenticeship is a fantastic way to build a career by gaining skills and training while receiving a regular wage.
“The opportunity to join this scheme is good news for anyone looking for an interesting career offering new challenges every day. We’re delighted to be working with Go North East on this project.
“The college is committed to apprenticeships and this is another great example of how we partner closely with North East employers to deliver the qualifications and training they want.”
Go North East has provided a bus which is used by the apprentices at the Academy for training purposes.