North East companies are supporting a Government drive to retain skilled engineers in sectors which are key to the nation’s future prosperity. Karen Dent reports.
SCOTLAND’S fastest-growing company established a base in the region this week to ensure it could recruit skilled engineers from the region’s strong pool of talent.
Aberdeen-based Flexlife says a base in the North East will ensure the company can continue its rapid growth by accessing the skills of some of the best engineers in the UK.
Its chief operating officer, John Marsden, said: “The number of engineers in Newcastle is excellent and the skills are amazing.”
Flexlife’s move into the region came in the week the Government launched a new drive, the Talent Retention Solution (TRS), to match engineers with UK companies looking to recruit skilled workers.
Some of the region’s major companies have joined the TRS initiative which will be officially launched in the North East at Nissan next month.
The TRS scheme has received £450,000 from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and will be fully funded by businesses from January next year.
Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk said: “This easily accessible web-based system will play a vital role in ensuring that these skills are not lost by re-deploying highly skilled workers into growing sectors of advanced manufacturing such as automotive, energy, infrastructure and aerospace.”
In the North East, manufacturers’ organisation the EEF has spent the last year exploring how to tackle skills shortages and pulled together a group of members, headed by Mike Jones from Siemens Energy’s Newcastle office.
Tony Sarginson, from the EEF, said: “Even though the North East – and historically this has been the case given our heritage, our universities and our greater reliance on manufacturing – produces a good number of skilled engineers, they are often lost to competition from other parts of the world.
“One of the early initiatives the EEF group came across was the development of the Talent Retention Solution. This was something we thought would be very helpful to North East manufacturers as it was one way of keeping talented engineers in our region.
“We are therefore very pleased to learn of the launch of the system and we are sure many North East companies will now derive some benefits.”
The TRS is expected to be fully up and running at the start of next year, when it is aiming to have more than 1,500 employers on board nationally. The system will break down opportunities by skills and geography.
Businesses already signed up include Rolls Royce, Airbus, Nissan and Siemens. Supply chain firms will also be able to use TRS.