Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

College Chosen to Launch Sembcorp Skills Programme; PROUD TO BACK APPRENTICESHIPS

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

College Chosen to Launch Sembcorp Skills Programme; PROUD TO BACK APPRENTICESHIPS

Article excerpt

A SPECIAL six-month training scheme designed to help young people not in employment, education or training secure an apprenticeship in the process industries is under way.

Middlesbrough College has been chosen to deliver the Pre-Apprenticeship element of the Sembcorp Skills Development Programme (SSDP), launched by UK Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable in May.

The first group of 12 of a total of 110 youngsters set to embark on the preapprenticeship training was welcomed to the college on July 22 by Mike Hopkins, its principal and chief executive.

Mr Hopkins was joined by George Ritchie, senior vice president for HR at Sembcorp and Philip Jones, chief executive of the project's delivery body - the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries (NSAPI).

Young people not currently in employment, education or training are being recruited on to the pre-apprenticeship over the next few months with the aim of getting them to a standard where they can compete on level skills terms with others for 100 SSDP Advanced Apprenticeships which start early in the New Year.

Sembcorp led the bid for PS3.4m of public funding made available through the Government's Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP) on behalf of some of the biggest names in process industry manufacturing including companies in the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, energy, engineering and biotechnology sectors. The SSDP Advanced Apprenticeship, which lasts three years, is also supported by a growing number of smaller firms in the supply chains of the process industry companies attracted by the ability to access a wider, more flexible range of quality training. A separate element of the programme will also enable 100 graduates in the area to become more work-ready and therefore employable.

Welcoming the first pre-apprenticeship group to the college, Mr Ritchie said: "This is a landmark moment for employers because under this Government-backed initiative, for the first time, the investment in skills is employer-owned and outcome-driven ensuring we have the pipeline of talent that we need to succeed. …

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