A new partnership between two of County Durham’s largest training providers is celebrating its first jobs success story.
In August, Bishop Auckland College and South West Durham Training announced they were joining forces to boost the region’s manufacturing and engineering sectors.
SWDT is now a subsidiary of the college, trading under its own brand as a separate registered charity.
The partners are working jointly to increase the provision of high quality training for the engineering and manufacturing sectors to meet emerging regional labour market demands.
The collaboration will provide opportunities for joint curriculum and quality developments, extensive employer engagement and pooling of resources, including combined marketing drives and shared back office services.
Now, in the partnership’s first jobs success, two of the college’s Business Administration students have been taken on as apprentices by SWDT.
Fern Archer, 18, and Calvin Wilson, 19, both of Newton Aycliffe, will work in SWDT’s offices four days per week, with one day spent at the college working on their Level 2 qualification.
Calvin, who previously achieved four A levels, said: “I decided to pursue an apprenticeship as opposed to university as it offered me the chance to gain both work experience and a qualification which can open up opportunities in many of areas of work.”
Professor Alan Townsend, Acting Chair of Bishop Auckland College Corporation, said: “This is the first of many positive outcomes we anticipate for our partnership with South West Durham Training.
“Building on our joint strengths and resources we aim to deliver the highest quality training to meet the needs of both employers and the current and future workforce, in a challenging funding climate.”
The partnership is currently developing collaborative 14-16 programmes, full-time vocational 16-19 pathways to Level 3, and part-time adult programmes and workplace learning.
In addition there will be new traineeships and apprenticeships, adult pre-employment training and Higher Education programmes.
Steve Rose, Chair of South West Durham Training, added: “The two organisations have worked closely together for many years and this partnership will extend the provision of high quality technical training in engineering, manufacturing and allied trades, in line with local and regional labour market demands.
“The creation of these two new apprenticeships is another example of the benefits of our close working relationship.”
• Pictured (above): Steve Rose, Chair of South West Durham Training, (left) and Professor Alan Townsend, Acting Chair of Bishop Auckland College Corporation, (right) with new apprentices Calvin Wilson and Fern Archer.