Unipres doubles intake of apprentices

Coun Paul Watson (second left) with Unipres' Gary Graham, Adam Tatters, Adam Clark and John Cruddace.

Coun Paul Watson (second left) with Unipres' Gary Graham, Adam Tatters, Adam Clark and John Cruddace.

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Car parts firm Unipres is doubling its intake of apprentices this year after agreeing to help raise awareness of careers in engineering among young people.

The Washington firm has signed up to a new Industrial Cadets initiative with four local schools, which will give students aged between 11 and 19 the opportunity to find out more about a career in engineering, and help create a pipeline of skilled workers for the future.

It’s another step in the process to try to inspire kids to think about engineering as a career path – they may not want to go to university and may not know what they want to do when they leave school.

John Cruddace

The national accreditation offers gold, silver and bronze awards based on how many hours cadets spend in the business.

Unipres, which provides components to carmakers including Nissan, Renault and Honda, will be welcoming its first intake from Castle View Enterprise Academy during July.

Plant director John Cruddace, said: “This is the first time we have been involved in this initiative.

“It’s another step in the process to try to inspire kids to think about engineering as a career path – they may not want to go to university and may not know what they want to do when they leave school.

“It’s perfectly aligned to what we want to achieve and can help us to future-proof ourselves against skills shortages.

“They may decide to go into automotive or other areas of engineering, so the programme provides support not just for us, but for the sector as a whole.” Cadets will spend more than 32 hours in the plant, learning about the business from human resources and finance, through to engineering and component manufacture.

At the end of the week, they will give a presentation of their experiences.

Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson said: “Unipres is a major employer in the city and its efforts to create skilled young people, both for its own business and the wider automotive industry across the city through the Industrial Cadets and apprenticeships schemes, should be applauded.

“It’s also great news Sunderland expertise is playing a part in developing the framework for national apprenticeships, and that Unipres is doubling its apprenticeships this year.”