DESIGN and manufacturing company Sevcon has taken on two apprentices as it focuses on its long-term future.
The Team Valley business, which produces specialised controllers for electric and hybrid vehicle engines and employs around 60 people, has already set up a £200,000 undergraduate sponsorship scheme to find future top engineers.
Scott Oakley, 18, of Bedlington, an apprentice electrical technician, and Erin Haken, also 18, from Jarrow, who is undertaking an apprenticeship in sales administration, have joined the business to bring the number of apprentices to four.
They follow 19-year-olds Anthony Scott, from Gateshead, an apprentice software engineer, and IT apprentice Will Lynch, from Chester-le-Street.
Sevcon president and chief executive Matt Boyle said: “We would normally have two apprentices, but with the modern apprenticeship programme now in place, we can run with four apprentices at any given time.”
Sevcon is currently sponsoring its first mechanical engineering undergraduate at Newcastle University and plans to spend more than £200,000 sponsoring seven more over the next 12 months.
Boyle said: “The potential opportunities for our business are tantalising and we need skilled staff to help us achieve that.”
The number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships in North East companies has grown by 70% over the last three years, according to Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing.