A PARTNERSHIP of Teesside process industry firms and business organisations have won a bid for public funding that will help to create around 100 new apprentice opportunities in the area.
The group has gained conditional approval under the first round of the Government’s new Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP) initiative for a pilot project that will benefit supply chain firms.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the Teesside bid, submitted by Sembcorp Utilities UK on behalf of the partnership, is one of 34 employer-led projects nationally set to share £67m for the design of new vocational training programmes.
The £3.4m the Government is making available through the Department for Business Innovation and Skills will be matched by the contributions of the process industry firms in the pilot project.
George Ritchie, senior vice president of regional HR for Sembcorp Industries and SVP HR for Sembcorp Utilities UK at the Wilton International site, led the consortium in submitting the bid.
He said: “This is fantastic news and a superb boost for apprentice and graduate training.”
The project will provide essential support for the training and development of apprentices and graduates in supply chain firms.
It will allow supply chain firms in the Tees Valley to recruit an additional 100 apprentices aged 16-18, develop a pre-apprenticeship programme to enable more young people to have the opportunity of an apprenticeship and implement a readiness to work programme for graduates entering the sector.
Stan Higgins, CEO of NEPIC, said: “The demand remains high for technically skilled people across all science and engineering based industries. Congratulations to all the partners for capturing this project – our industry certainly needs it”.
The project will involve the Darlington-based National Skills Academy for the Process Industries, which is the consortium’s nominated delivery partner.
Other firms behind the project are SABIC UK Petrochemicals, Lotte Chemical UK, Huntsman Polyurethanes, Chemoxy International, Aescia Pharmaceuticals, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Fine Organics and High Force Research.
Other partners include NEPIC, Tees Valley Unlimited, the National Apprenticeship Service and a range of local and regional education and training providers.