Apprentice idol – Sunderland’s Liebherr trainees in bid to be named the best

Liebherr Sunderland's apprentice team
Liebherr Sunderland's apprentice team
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A GROUP of trainee welders, electricians, fitters and machinists are bidding to become team of the year in a national contest to find the country’s leading apprentices.

A team of nine apprentices from Liebherr’s Sunderland plant has entered the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2014, the official search for the nation’s apprentice team of the year.

The challenge, organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, tests trainees on team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities in a series of tasks.

As part of the project, the apprentices are working alongside The Salvation Army’s Southwick Community Project helping to renovate rooms in Southwick Community Centre, as well as creating a memorial garden to commemorate the First World War.

The team has also been going into schools to promote apprenticeships and engineering, taking a portable welding booth to give students first-hand experience of work at Liebherr.

Liebherr Sunderland managing director Ralph Saelzer said: “We’re really delighted that our apprentices are taking part in this challenge. The work they do is fantastic, so it’s good that they have the opportunity to put their skills to use in a way that benefits the community, put also allows them to test themselves against other apprentices across the North East.”

More than 110 teams from across the UK are taking part in the challenge. They will be whittled down to a final eight at the House of Commons in April, who will then battle it out to be crowned apprentice team of the year in June.

Godfrey Owen, chief executive of organisers the Brathay Trust, said: “It is good to see so many companies, including Liebherr Sunderland Works, engaging their apprentices in such a challenge.”