An innovative partnership between Northumberland County Council, Northumberland College and Port of Blyth is to establish a welding and fabrication training facility in Blyth.

Investment of £1.08m will deliver a technical vocational training centre at the Port’s South Harbour terminal which will focus on training school leavers, adults and sector employees in welding and fabrication disciplines, management of sector related apprenticeships and delivery of mandatory professional industry certifications required in the offshore energy sector.

An existing facility will be transformed into a training centre offering those in Northumberland the chance to enter vocational training or upskill.

Nigel Harrett, Principal of Northumberland College, said: “We are pleased to be working with Northumberland County Council to offer more training opportunities in the area, specifically which meet the needs of the welding and fabrication industry. We look forward to delivering this much-needed training programme in the future.”

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “We are committed to supporting industry and those young people and adults looking to start a career or upskill in a career they are already in.

“This is a great step forward for Northumberland, Learning and Skills, the college and the Port of Blyth. By working together, we will be able to achieve something great for this area, opening up opportunities for the future.”

The Port and PTS have played a key role in increasing opportunities for young people and adults from Northumberland, and the wider North of Tyne Combined Authority, to transition into the industry based at the port and its regional supply chain.

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive at Port of Blyth, said: “The introduction of the new Fabrication and Welding Training facility is fantastic news and a welcome addition to the growing education campus here at the Port of Blyth.

“This facility, in conjunction with our partnerships with Newcastle College, with whom we are successfully delivering Level 3 Engineering qualifications, as well as Newcastle University and the Blyth STEM Hub, will undoubtedly provide many more pathways into industry.”

Together Northumberland Learning and Skills and Northumberland College will create learning programmes which:

  • Provide skilled, apprenticeship ready, employable 16-18 year-old school leavers
  • Provide an opportunity for 14-16 year olds to enter sector specific vocational training
  • Provide apprenticeship/employment ready adults
  • Provide a function for employers to upskill staff ready to progress further and increase productivity
  • Encourage employment from within the county
  • Removal of skills-based growth obstacles for employers
  • Provide a solution for mandatory professional welding certification
  • Provide a training function for those out of work with an ambition to re-skill

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