A PARTNERSHIP of further education sites across the North-East is helping thousands of employers invest in the future by transforming their workforces through apprenticeships.

With constant changes across all industries, it is important businesses continue to develop their staff, whether they are seeking new talent or upskilling existing employees.

Apprenticeships bring together practical and technical learning with invaluable workplace experience with apprentices studying and working towards a nationally recognised qualification. They are a cost-effective way of attracting and developing new talent, giving employers the opportunity to tailor their training to meet current and future needs.

Adding value to businesses as soon as they start, apprentices bring energy and a desire to learn which can have a positive impact on existing staff. Apprentices also bring fresh new ideas as they will be up to date with the latest techniques and technology - increasing competitiveness, innovation and productivity.

Apprenticeships are not just about recruitment. They are available to people of all ages as well as at a range of levels, meaning organisations can also motivate, develop and retain their existing employees which will further strengthen their workforce and help take the business forward.

Education Partnership North East, which includes Hartlepool Sixth Form, Northumberland College and Sunderland College, delivers high quality training and development opportunities to local and regional businesses across several industries and roles from manufacturing, engineering and construction, to healthcare, business management, HR and IT.

Programmes are shaped by business and industry leaders and delivered by sector experts, offering flexibility, and tailored to individual needs and specific requirements.

The college also works with employers to recruit the best candidates for apprenticeship roles offering ongoing support such as providing assessors to assist learners in completing their qualification and evaluate their competence in the workplace.

Since 2019, leading North East-based paint manufacturer, AkzoNobel, has worked with Northumberland College to upskill its workforce through a bespoke apprenticeship programme.

After looking at the different training programmes available locally, it became apparent to AkzoNobel that there was nothing currently on the market that matched the levels of automation that are built into its state-of-the-art factory at Ashington.

The company approached Northumberland College, which is ideally located just one mile from the plant, about the possibility of creating a bespoke programme which would cater to the site’s unique training needs.

Jeff Hope, head of its Ashington manufacturing unit, said: "Northumberland College is our local college, being situated less than a mile from our manufacturing site. While the site has been constructed, commissioned and brought into full production we have built a mutual and successful relationship in many different respects.

"All our apprentices on site are learners at Northumberland College and we have supported their leadership team to develop their curriculum delivery to serve manufacturing as well as other industries.

"It is hugely important to the positive development of a community that education and industry are connected and aligned."

If you are interested in hiring an apprentice or have any questions, visit www.educationpartnershipne.ac.uk, call 0300 770 1000 or email info@educationpartnershipne.ac.uk.