A Tyneside engineering group's apprentice scheme to nurture its next generation of skilled employees is the first in the North East to gain an official stamp of approval from the industry’s leading representative body.
British Engines’ Apprenticeship+ programme, launched last September, is doubling the number of apprentices at the firm based in St Peters, Newcastle, offering an unparalleled opportunity for trainees to break into the engineering industry.
The Certificate of Accreditation from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) recognises the quality of the Apprenticeship+ scheme and the importance of a new wave of highly-skilled engineers to British Engines and the wider regional economy.
It meets the aims of Prime Minister David Cameron who has launched a new drive to create 100,000 registered engineering technicians by 2018.
The British Engines group of companies employs 1,100 people - mainly in the North East, but also all over the world – and operates in a number of engineering sectors, primarily oil and gas. Its Apprenticeship+ programme is both a solution to a shortage of skilled engineers and reflects a continuing ambition to expand its business.
Denis Healy, business development manager at IMechE, said: “This is a great day for British Engines and their apprentices. This recognition, which is the first of its kind in the North East, reflects well on the company, but also brings great benefit to the apprentices as they pursue their careers.
“Not everybody has the luxury of being part of a company like British Engines. Central Government has recognised that engineering has become essential to solving our economic problems and predicts a significant shortfall of engineers over the next five years.
“So a supply of high-quality engineers to meet this need is now urgent. The IMechE resources available to British Engines apprentices following recognition will enable them to progress their careers in engineering to the very highest level, as well as enabling them to start their careers with an officially-recognised professional accreditation.”
Richard Dodd, group product and engineering director at British Engines, said: “We are delighted to receive this accreditation which is a reflection of the hard work put into our programme, in particular by our apprentices.
“Being the first company in the North East to receive this recognition is particularly gratifying. We are very proud of our apprentices and they should take great pride in this award which recognises their efforts and importance to our business.”
British Engines has trained hundreds of apprentices since 1966 and Apprenticeship+ – its own training academy – offers apprentices both practical and academic training through three levels: Foundation; Intermediate; and the four-year Advanced level.
The Apprenticeship+ programme has been developed with British Engines’ training partner TDR.
Its systems manager Steve Lambert said: “This is very different to what other major engineering companies do.
“The standard method there is to give apprentices a round robin experience of the different departments of the company. At British Engines, their learning will take place in just one area so they become more productive more quickly.”
IMechE is the fastest-growing professional engineering institution in the UK. Its 100,000 members work at the heart of one of the country’s most important and dynamic industries.
With a 160-year heritage, it works with leading companies, universities and think tanks, creating and sharing knowledge to provide government, businesses and the public with fresh thinking and authoritative guidance on all aspects of mechanical engineering.
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