Education Partnership North East is helping thousands of employers across the region invest in the future by transforming their workforces through apprenticeships. 

With constant changes across all industries, it is important businesses continue to develop their staffwhether they are seeking new talent or upskilling existing employees. 

Apprenticeships bring together practical and technical learning with invaluable workplace experience with apprentices studying and working towards a nationally recognised qualification. They are a cost-effective way of attracting and developing new talent, giving employers the opportunity to tailor their training to meet current and future needs. 

Adding value to businesses as soon as they start, apprentices bring energy and a desire to learn which can have a positive impact on existing staff. Apprentices also bring fresh new ideas as they will be up to date with the latest techniques and technology – increasing competitiveness, innovation and productivity. 

Apprenticeships are not just about recruitment. They are available to people of all ages as well as at a range of levels, meaning organisations can also motivate, develop and retain their existing employees which will further strengthen their workforce and help take the business forward. 

Education Partnership North East, which includes Hartlepool Sixth Form, Northumberland College and Sunderland College, delivers high quality training and development opportunities to local and regional businesses across several industries and roles from manufacturingengineering and construction, to healthcare, business management, HR and IT. 

Programmes are shaped by business and industry leaders and delivered by sector experts, offering flexibility, and tailored to individual needs and specific requirements. 

The College also works with employers to recruit the best candidates for apprenticeship roles offering ongoing support such as providing assessors to assist learners in completing their qualification and evaluate their competence in the workplace. 

Recently, global manufacturer Grundfos reached out to Sunderland College for support in hiring six apprentices, the roles advertised externally and to engineering students generating over 100 applicationsThe recruitment process involved interviews, theory assessment and practical assessments and the successful applicants, two of which were engineering students, are now training for a range of engineering roles including fitters, mechanical, electrical, and quality. 

A long-time advocate of apprenticeships, Grundfos received funding to meet the training costs of three its apprentices courtesy of Sunderland City Council’s Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme as it looks to ensure a steady flow of talent for years to come. 

Graham Moore, Operations Controlling Partner at Grundfos, said: “Taking on an apprentice is a big investment and is often quite off putting for many businesses, especially SMEs. 

“Not only has the funding alleviated the financial commitment of taking on some of the apprentices, but it also means we’ll be in a better position to further extend our programme next year and bring more young talent into the business. 

Since 2019, leading North East-based paint manufacturer, AkzoNobel, has worked with Northumberland College to upskill its workforce through a bespoke apprenticeship programme. 

After looking at the different training programmes available locally, it became apparent to AkzoNobel that there was nothing currently on the market that matched the levels of automation that are built into its state-of-the-art factory at Ashington. 

The company approached Northumberland College, which is ideally located just one mile from the plant, about the possibility of creating a bespoke programme which would cater to the site’s unique training needs. 

Jeff Hope, Head of Ashington Manufacturing Unit, said: “Northumberland College is our local college, being situated less than a mile from our manufacturing site. While the site has been constructed, commissioned and brought into full production we have built a mutual and successful relationship in many different respects.

“All  our apprentices on site are learners at Northumberland College and we have supported their leadership team to develop their curriculum delivery to serve manufacturing as well as other industries. 

It is hugely important to the positive development of a community that education and industry are connected and aligned.” 

Peter Robertson, Head of Business Development at Education Partnership North East, added: “We work with hundreds of employers helping them recruit apprentices into their businesses and I’ve seen, on many occasions, how fantastic those apprentices have been. 

“Apprentices offer a great way to grow a business: they offer enthusiasm and new skills, and support organisations through periods of transition with fresh thinking and ideas. 

“We can help take away some of the confusion about apprenticeships, offering advice and guidance from understanding the apprenticeship levy to explaining off the job training, as well as assist with recruitment and provide ongoing support throughout the programme.” 

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