Teachers have swapped the classroom for the workplace in an initiative aimed at helping promote careers in advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Representatives from more than 80 secondary schools and colleges across the North East visited Nissan’s Sunderland plant, giving those responsible for careers advice a greater insight into the opportunities available for their students.
The event was organised by the North East Skills Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing (NESAAM), which is playing a leading role in trying to educate teachers, parents and young people themselves about the benefits of a career in the sector.
NESAAM, run by Semta, has brought together all 12 of the region’s local authorities with champion employers, the National Apprenticeship Service and Stemnet (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) to launch a series of initiatives to get the message across.
Semta’s chief operating officer, Ann Watson, said: “We need to attract students with practical ability but also the very brightest if we are to close the skills gap in advanced manufacturing and engineering.
“We know there are 8,500 workers needed in this region just to replace workers who will retire by 2017, with many more required as businesses win new contracts and expand. There was a real buzz in the room as teachers spoke first-hand with young people at various stages of their apprenticeship and others who have progressed through the ranks.”
The event was chaired by Graham Payne, outgoing chief executive of the Teesside-based Darchem Engineering, while Chirton Engineering apprentice Ryan Tweddell and graduate Jonathon Booth of Cummins Engines both shared their experiences.