Two of the North East’s leading providers of education and training have launched a new industry focused partnership to meet the current and future skills needs of the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.

Signing a Strategic Alliance Agreement, specialist independent training provider NA College and Education Partnership North East (EPNE) will work together to co-design and deliver a strong and engaged careers-focused curriculum through high quality teaching, rich learning experiences and clear progression routes into employment and higher-level study opportunities.

Aiming to be recognised as an example of best practice in collaborative partnerships, the organisations will create a bespoke Apprenticeships programme, sharing resources and facilities, and establish a collaborative approach to adult training, which meets industry demands.

Toni Rhodes, Principal of Sunderland College, said: “We are really pleased that we have formed this strategic partnership with NA College. It is so important that education providers work collaboratively to address the local skills need and deliver high quality provision across the region.”

Margherita Pasquariello, Chief Strategy and Executive Officer at Washington-based NA College said: “The technical skills shortage in the North East does not allow local businesses to attract, upskill and retain the right workforce to support their business growth.

This partnership was born to be a new innovative approach, from training and project scoping to the delivery, to share staff and resources to provide exciting journey to our learners and to support employers training demand.”

Recognising strength comes through strategic collaboration, the NA College and EPNE partnership will seek to drive economic recovery and growth by giving local people training opportunities to secure well-paid jobs in key industries with skills gaps.

Harnessing an innovative sector-leading approach, the curriculum will be aligned to Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) specifically linked to green skills, digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

By boosting the quality of education on offer through flexible study options including Sector Work Based Academies (SWAPs) and Skills Bootcamps alongside Apprenticeships, the partnership will further prioritise local needs and local people, transforming the skills and training landscape.

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