North East sees rise in engineering apprenticeships
Apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing have increased 70% in the North East over the past three years, with 2,160 new starts having been registered so far this year compared to 1,880 in 2010 and 1,270 in 2009.
According to Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, almost 500 engineering and manufacturing companies have taken on apprentices – meaning the number of firms recruiting apprentices has increased from 16% to 23% over the past two years.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan's vice president for manufacturing in the UK, who chairs the North East Skills Alliance, said the figures were encouraging but there was no room for complacency.
"We are delighted to see such a significant increase in the number of apprentices being recruited," he commented. "Our aim is to have 50% of North East engineering and manufacturing companies taking on apprentices by the end of 2016. A lot of work is going into making it as easy as possible for companies to offer apprenticeships and graduate programmes, and to up-skill their current workforce. "
Fitzpatrick made a call for more firms, particularly smaller and medium-sized businesses, to take on more apprentices in order for the region to meet the skills challenges it faces. "The figures are moving in the right direction but we must keep up the momentum," he concluded.
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