Education Partnership North East has partnered with Merit, the UK’s leading industrialised construction and digital manufacturing specialist, to support the recruitment and training of a new cohort of engineering apprentices.

The nine apprentices, part of a 21-strong group who have begun their careers at the Cramlington-based firm, will undertake a multi-skilled course at Northumberland College, receiving training in electrical, welding and skills required in a factory environment. They will attend Ashington Campus for the first year and join Merit in the factory from June 2024, with a day release at college each week thereafter.

The latest cohort brings Merit’s apprentice tally to 77 since 2013. Merit’s apprenticeship programmes last four years and guarantee a permanent job on completion.

Katie Priest, Multi-skilled Engineering Apprentice at Merit, said: “Merit is the future. Those were the four words that made me realise that Merit was the company for me. I have always been enthralled by how things work and are made, and due to my multi-skilled apprenticeship, Merit has enabled me to do just that: learn.

“My apprenticeship with Merit enables me to learn in a practical manner and offers an exciting introduction to the workforce. Not only am I building a career with Merit, but I am also building on myself as an individual.”

Education Partnership North East is one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the region, working in over 40 business sectors. The group, which also includes Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form College, works with organisations to help them meet the skills needs of their current and future workforce.

Chris Small, Business Executive at Education Partnership North East, said: “We are proud to be working with Merit to help train their multi-skilled engineering apprentices.

“We believe this will be the start of a long-lasting partnership between our organisations and look forward to welcoming the apprentices to Northumberland College.”

Over the last 12 months, Merit has taken onboard several projects across the UK, adding clients like the international pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna, to its portfolio.

April Twentyman, HR Manager at Merit, said: “Merit has been running an incredibly successful apprenticeship programme since 2013, with each individual encouraged to work to the best of their ability and dive into aspects of the programme that interest them most.

“Apprentices are as much a part of the team as any other employee within the business, and they each play an important role in the company’s continuing growth. “Through continuous training, exposure to specialist skills and input from college, apprentices will have the opportunity to travel and support on a working construction site – this is something that will really prepare them for long-term career roles.”

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19