Apprenticeships are not just for young people who are new to work, North East training provider Northern Skills Group has reminded businesses.
Apprenticeship programmes can be part of a whole workforce development strategy or plan.
The Northern Skills Group has highlighted a move by Durham County Council to put 11 of its workers through apprenticeships in Sustainable Waste Management, to make its workforce futureproof.
The cohort of workers – including the youngest at 22 and the oldest at 60 – is studying towards City & Guilds waste management qualifications that will help the Council manage its waste sustainably.
Based at the Council’s Chilton, Annfield Plain and Peterlee depots, the 11 staff are being trained in skills such as controlling the storage and collection of waste, operating weighbridges and team working.
Angela Beadnell-Wall, technical trainer at Northern Skills Group, said: “It’s brilliant that Durham County Council has seen the value in apprenticeships across different age groups, and for existing staff.
“This is a great example of how an apprenticeship programme can be an efficient way to update skills in a workforce.
“At the same time the Council’s apprentices are gaining valuable qualifications.”
The cohort is studying across Level 3 qualifications – including a Diploma for Waste Supervisors.
Colin Hodgson, 45, is one of the apprentices on the programme.
He said: “The training is a really good idea because it gives those who want to a chance to move up the career ladder.
“We’re covering a lot of ground – from supervision and managerial skills through to health and safety. It’s all going to help us progress.”
In addition to the Council apprentices, Northern Skills Group is delivering similar training programmes for the likes of British Steel, Total Recycling and Yorwaste.
• Pictured (above): Durham County Council apprentices, from left, Robert Bowman, Tom Milburn, Peter Wilkinson, Eric Keys, Ian Walker, Ian Tully, Steven Stone, Joseph Colin Hodgson.