Sunderland transport giant Arriva is creating a raft of apprenticeship posts after extending a pioneering workforce development scheme.
Arriva teamed up with Gateshead College last year to kick-start a training programme specifically tailored to the firm’s needs, which included a requirement for additional coach-building, body repair, electrical and mechanical engineering skills.
An initial tranche of apprentices was hired to fill the gap and their work across Arriva’s North East sites helped the transport firm boost revenues in 2016.
But with extra skills in these core disciplines still required, the company has extended the scheme and created roles for about 15 new apprentices, who will work towards level two and level three qualifications while learning valuable practical skills on the four-year programme.
If they impress, they have a chance of being taken on full-time at Arriva after they have completed the apprenticeship.
Steve Rowell, engineering director for the North East and Yorkshire at Arriva, said: “This fantastic partnership with Gateshead College puts apprenticeships at the heart of our skills development programme.
“I started my apprenticeship in 1992, so I know how valuable they can be in helping people to forge a successful career within their chosen discipline.
“Apprenticeships are also hugely beneficial to Arriva and since we started working with the college, we’ve managed to plug skills gaps in certain areas.
“As older members of our workforce retire, we want to ensure we have a work-ready pipeline of engineering expertise to replace them.”
Arriva now has about 200 engineering staff in the North East and Yorkshire and operates almost 800 buses as far afield as Berwick and North Yorkshire.
Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “This is another great example of how we work with employers to deliver the qualifications and training they need.
“We’re working with the company to ensure it has the skills to be successful.”