Sunderland firm Unipres-ing ahead with new apprentices

Representatives of Unipres and Hartlepool College of Further Education with the current cohort of apprentices.
Representatives of Unipres and Hartlepool College of Further Education with the current cohort of apprentices.

Unipres is investing in the future.

The Washington car parts manufacturer has strengthened its relationship with Hartlepool College of Further Education, welcoming a further cohort of 15 apprentices.

Our relationship with the College initially started in 2017 when the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced, and we went to tender.

Maureen Askew

Hartlepool College will be welcoming the next group of apprentices in the new academic year, doubling the number of Unipres apprentices currently training with the college.

Maureen Askew, senior controller of the Unipres Training Academy, said: “Our relationship with the college initially started in 2017 when the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced, and we went to tender.

“During that initial tendering process, Hartlepool College of Further Education came across as the strongest provider.

“They were incredibly strong against the competition and ultimately the finishing touch was the feedback from the current apprentices, which was extremely positive. This is why we’ve engaged again with Hartlepool College.

“Although slightly further away than our more local providers, they’ve taken away the barrier of transport so that is no longer an issue.”

To help apprentices from Sunderland to reach Hartlepool every week, the college has developed a free transport programme.

Gary Riches, Head of Apprenticeships at Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “The students themselves have been performing brilliantly.

“We encourage open conversation between our students, the college and Unipres, so we can build that partnership and give as much back as we can.

“I personally believe the apprentice feedback and the standard of work has been the reason Unipres has decided to continue working with us.

“The communication between all parties is a key factor. We’re always on the end of the phone or a quick drive down the road. We’re transparent as a college and we’re always ready to receive a visit. Everything you see during a visit is what we do day in day out.”

One former apprentice is John Cruddace, the current Operations Director: “I’m a little bit old school when it comes to standards and everything we’ve seen so far has excelled those standards,” he said.

“I was looking for the discipline that was instilled into me when I was an apprentice and that’s key for me.”