Open letter: Why we're proud to back apprenticeships

The North East boasts one of the strongest manufacturing and engineering sectors in the UK. It is the heartbeat of our economy. And it can be for many years to come

Fundamental to that success is our great people. Our region’s workforce is steeped in the traditions of engineering, dating back to the start of the Industrial Revolution. Our people are highly-skilled, hard-working and passionate about their jobs. But we need more of them.

Recent research suggests that over 8,500 skilled people across the North East will be retiring from the engineering sector before 2016. This poses a considerable threat to our industry. Our concern is that our supply chain is not put at risk as a result of this potential skills shortage.

Are you confident that enough is being done to develop graduates and apprentices? Is your business playing its part in up-skilling its existing workforce? Or could you do more to address this issue that threatens to stifle our progress in the coming years?

Companies such as British Engines make apprenticeship and graduate recruitment a key part of their own succession planning, while some of the leading manufacturing and engineering companies in the region such as Nissan, Ford Aerospace and Quick Hydraulics have also incorporated this within their procurement assessment for existing and potential suppliers. We would ask that you do the same, conveying this message to all your suppliers and asking them to do likewise to theirs – thereby encouraging everyone in the sector to share in the responsibility of ensuring our region remains competitive.

We have made great strides in the North East over the last two years, with the number of employers with apprentices within the manufacturing and engineering sector increasing from 13% to 27%, representing an increase of nearly 2,000 apprentices. There is, however, still much to do.

The Journal and Evening Gazette have today launched a campaign that highlights those employers who are committed to skills development and sustainable supply chain management and encourages others to do likewise. The North East Skills Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing Employers, Semta, NECC, CBI North East, the EEF and the National Apprenticeship Service are uniting to join that campaign.

:: Show your support by downloading our poster - Proud to back apprenticeships

:: Pledge your support for our Apprenticeships campaign by completing the form below. We may feature business names in paper, as part of the campaign.

Companies supporting The Journal's apprenticeship campaign
Companies supporting The Journal's apprenticeship campaign


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer