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New apprentices are all aboard for a career in engineering

02 Dec 2016

Three young people from the north east are now looking forward to a career in engineering thanks to an apprenticeship scheme operated by Stagecoach North East.

The company has just taken on three apprentices to train at their depots in Sunderland, Newcastle and South Shields, where they will undertake a four-year programme in mechanical and electrical engineering. 

The apprenticeship offers a combination of residential training to achieve the Technical Certificate in Bus and Coach Engineering Maintenance, and on the job training at the local depot. 

25-year old Jordan Davison, originally from Easington and now living in Southwick in Sunderland, has just started his engineering apprenticeship at the South Shields bus depot. As Jordan’s Dad and Grandad were miners, he is the first in his family to step into the world of engineering and take his career in a new direction.

Prior to becoming an apprentice, Jordan spent a number of years working in vehicle processing. He said: “I previously worked in administration and workshop control, so I really wanted to experience and learn more about the manual side. When I was looking for apprenticeships I saw this opportunity and I applied for it straight away, as I thought it would be ideal. I am interested in engineering and science and like to see how things work, so I am looking forward to developing a full-time job in engineering.”

Engineering most definitely runs in the family for new apprentice, Lee Mutch, as his Dad is the engineering manager at the Stagecoach depot in Hartlepool. The 18-year-old from Stanley in County Durham is following in his father’s footsteps, as he takes up the engineering apprenticeship at the Sunderland bus depot.

Lee worked in the retail industry at fashion outlets Van Mildert and Cruise, before his new employment at Stagecoach and is keen to embrace his new career. He said: “I have only been at the depot two months but have already learned about servicing gear boxes, and every day is different. My Dad has worked his way up from engineering apprentice, fitter, charge hand, and engineering supervisor, so I know that there are great opportunities for a career in engineering with Stagecoach and I am really enjoying it.”

17-year-old Elliot Milburn from Wallsend in Newcastle has joined the team at the Walkergate depot in Newcastle. Elliot was a student at St Thomas More RC Academy before beginning the apprenticeship, and is keeping up the family tradition, as his Dad is also an engineer.

He said: “Although I have not studied or worked in engineering before, I am looking forward to the apprenticeship with such a well-known company as Stagecoach. I am already getting hands-on experience, working on servicing and replacing brake pads and discs under supervision and enjoying getting stuck in.”

The local bus operator offers apprenticeship opportunities in body or combined mechanical and electrical engineering and the apprentices will be spending the next four years gaining hands-on practical training alongside studying at college in Glasgow over six one-week blocks, each year.

As engineering apprentices, they will learn all aspects of vehicle maintenance through their workshop experience, preparing vehicles for the road, conducting MOT’s and making repairs. As part of the training programme, every apprentice is guided by a nominated mentor from the company who will provide support and advice throughout the four-year scheme.

Gary Chisholm, Engineering Director at Stagecoach North East, said: “We are committed to developing our staff, and offering apprenticeship opportunities is a great way to bring young people into the company and nurture their skills from the outset of their professional career.  Elliot, Jordan and Lee show great promise and I am sure that they will be an asset to the engineering teams so we are delighted to welcome them aboard.

“The four-year course gives all our apprentices the opportunity to train while earning and we find that once qualified our trainees remain with the company for most, if not all, of their working life. The Group training scheme has produced a number of competent skilled staff in all the engineering skill ranges over the years the programme has been running and I am sure that this year’s apprentices will enjoy the experience.”

On successful completion of the training, the apprentices will be awarded an Apprenticeship in Bus and Coach Engineering Maintenance qualification and will then have the opportunity to become a licensed member of IRTEC (The Institute of Road Transport Engineers).