Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Licensed to Skill; Sarah Sillars, OBE, Is Chief Executive of Semta, the Skills Body for Science, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing. She Is Encouraged by the Way Employers Are Rising to the Skills Challenge in the North East but Warns There Is No Room for Complacency

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Licensed to Skill; Sarah Sillars, OBE, Is Chief Executive of Semta, the Skills Body for Science, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing. She Is Encouraged by the Way Employers Are Rising to the Skills Challenge in the North East but Warns There Is No Room for Complacency

Article excerpt

THE North East has always been a region which has led change and innovation so vital for the growth of our economy.

Much of the industrial revolution occurred right here with steel, shipbuilding and mining bringing thousands of jobs and prosperity, not only to the North East but also to the wider UK.

So the fact The Journal, along with every newspaper in the region, has launched Nevolution should come as no surprise - traditional rivals coming together for the greater good.

It reflects the way employers have come together with Semta, academic institutions, the local authorities, training companies and other interested partners - such as the EEF and North East Chamber of Commerce to form the North East Skills Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing (NESAAM).

At the heart of both Nevolution and NESAAM is the need to invest in new talent, products and processes, retain graduates and to provide a home grown solution to the skills challenge.

It was interesting to learn from Lord Adonis that 1,000 people applied for 20 apprentice posts at Nissan last year - which he said made it harder to get into than Oxford University.

The fact is Nissan's success has created a huge number of opportunities in the supply chain. On a wider scale we are seeing firms like Nifco, Siemens, Ford Components, Wessington Cryogenics, Gestamp Tallent, Caterpillar, Quick Hydraulics Liebherr Cranes and Chirton engineering to name but a few who are thriving despite the current economic climate.

They are the ones who will lead the UK's economic recovery. Critically they are all sharing their successes and experiences through NESAAM to shape the future of engineering and manufacturing in the region.

The last two years has seen apprenticeships grow by 133% in the North East against a national average of 85% in the sector.

We saw 2,960 apprentice starts in 2012 and the number of companies recruiting apprentices went from 22% to 27% - but we need to get half of companies doing so by 2016. …

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