The new boss of one of the region’s oldest training providers says it is celebrating a recruitment growth as it approaches its 50th birthday.
South West Durham Training (SWDT) will mark its fifth decade on Aycliffe Business Park with a special celebration event on Friday.
And new general manager Jason Howe says the milestone comes at a time when learner numbers at the centre continue to grow.
SWDT now offers a range of higher education and commercial courses to employers in the region, as well as full-time apprenticeship programmes.
And Howe, who took over the reins at SWDT in July, said: “It was a really strong summer for us in terms of recruitment.
“Our full-time apprentice numbers doubled and our commercial numbers continue to climb as we look to deliver bespoke and tailor-made courses that our employers need.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming several special guests, previous learners and employees of South West Durham Training to what will be a very special event in December.”
A number of full part-time positions have been filled at SWDT recently to cope with an increase in numbers and Howe is also looking to recruit a new full-time position to head up its Btec and higher education provision.
SWDT is now offering HNC courses in mechatronics, mechanical engineering and electrical and has been delivering a range of commercial courses for some now, including fork lift truck driving, electrical, health and safety, PLC programming, lean manufacturing, quality assurance, CAD, fluid power, fabrication and welding and plumbing and gas.
That’s as well as its full-time apprenticeship provision which covers mechanical and electrical engineering, toolmaking, fabrication and welding, manufacturing, plumbing and gas, polymer production and manufacturing and engineering technical support.
SWDT is also working hard to develop relationships with local schools, with school liaison officer Matt Gattis in charge of getting young people through the door to explore the engineering training options after school.
“We’re working extremely hard to engage with young people in the region as we know all too well about the skills gap we need to bridge in the coming years,” added Howe.
“We have lots of ongoing relationships with some local schools and we’re looking to develop new ones – and that could be by supporting them with vocational delivery, or just by enhancing the learning experience for young people by letting them see our facilities and the sort of opportunities that exist upon leaving school.”
A subsidiary of Bishop Auckland College which employs 27 staff, SWDT works with many of the region’s big employers including Hitachi Rail, Cummins in Darlington, Richmond-based Pipeline Engineering, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Barnard Castle and car parts maker Nifco in Stockton, and currently has more than 300 learners on its books.
• Find out more about SWDT at www.swdt.co.uk or call 01325 313194.