A new generation of Teesside steelworkers have started their careers this week in a partnership between British Steel and Middlesbrough College.
The twelve manufacturing and technical apprentices, who are employed by the college, are being sponsored by the company and it is hoped they will join British Steel when they have completed their training.
Among the new recruits is Luke Swann, one of the dozen successful candidates chosen after a vigorous selection process which attracted an incredible 400 applications.
Luke said: “I am chuffed to bits to be starting an apprenticeship with British Steel, having been waiting for something like this for a long time.
“I have been trying to find an apprenticeship for over three years so am very excited to be working for a company like British Steel. I am going to get practical experience straight away.”
Another of the new starters, Ryan Hodgson said: “I am excited to start the training at Middlesbrough College, to find out all about the job and the roles, and hopefully to get a job at the end of it.”
The apprentices started their new roles on Monday and their training will take place at the college’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Centre and British Steel’s Teesside Beam Mill.
They will learn how to operate a comprehensive range of mill equipment associated with the rolling and finishing of steel sections used in the construction industry. This includes techniques to ensure that products are rolled in specification ready for release to customers.
Richard Farnsworth, British Steel’s Managing Director for Construction, said: “We’re delighted to welcome 12 new people to British Steel. This is a fantastic opportunity for them and they are promised the very best training from ourselves and the college.
“The steel industry is in Teesside’s blood and this move not only demonstrates our commitment to apprenticeships and training, but to the region as a whole.
“We employ more than 430 people at our Teesside Beam Mill and the neighbouring Service Centre at Lackenby, and they are building a bright future for themselves, our business and our customers. Our new apprentices will only add to the momentum we are building on Teesside.”
The new starters have been enrolled on to Middlesbrough College’s apprentice programme and they will receive six weeks of intensive training at the college before training and working at British Steel.
Richard added: “Forging successful and long-lasting partnerships in the community is one of our key aims and we are proud to have joined forces with Middlesbrough College to deliver these apprenticeships.”
Ian Smith, Middlesbrough College’s STEM Director, said: “Middlesbrough College STEM Centre is delighted to be working in partnership with British Steel to deliver an innovative apprenticeship programme that ensures that manufacturing skills are developed in young people.
“The Stem Centre has been specifically designed to provide industrial standard training as part of the solution to industry skills gaps and we are thrilled to support British Steel’s ambitions during an exciting stage of their development.”
Apprentice Jordan Rix added: “It’s been a good first few days and I am looking forward to going out on to site after the first few weeks of training.”
During training, candidates will achieve a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Performing Manufacturing Operations and Level 2 Certificate in Metals Industries Processes.