Engineering firms from across the Yorkshire and Humber region took a step towards future-proofing their businesses with a look behind the scenes at a new £4.5 million apprentice training centre.
Maintenance team leaders from Reckitt Benckiser (RB) travelled only yards from their Hull site to see how their new recruits were progressing at the new home of Humberside Engineering Training Centre (HETA). Delegates from the Bradbury Group in Scunthorpe revealed that they were looking in HETA’s shop window for new apprentices to support their expansion drive.
In total about 100 visitors including representatives from the Humber LEP and Hull City Council’s economic regeneration team toured the centre in Dansom Lane South, Hull, and agreed with the introductory remarks from Iain Elliott, HETA’s chief executive.
Iain told them: “This event is about giving employers an opportunity to see the new site and the improvements we have made. You will see dramatic change to the facilities. There’s no comparison. It’s also a chance to see the improvements that we have made to the learning experience.
“We have about 85 apprentices and trainees in Hull this year and that’s a good start. We are privileged to do this job because we see them coming in a bit green and shy and lacking confidence and they really progress during this first year as we give them those technical skills and employability skills.”
HETA, which also operates training centres at Stallingborough and at Foxhills in Scunthorpe, opened the new headquarters last month after relocating from Copenhagen Road on Hull’s Sutton Fields Industrial Estate.
First-year apprentices who had attended open days at Copenhagen Road spoke about the level of improvement. They chatted confidently with employers about the implications of automation on job prospects, and one told of her frustrations when a local college offered her a place studying hair and beauty instead of engineering.
RB has two apprentices at the new site with five more already working at its nearby science and innovation centre and others pursuing degree courses. HETA also trains some of the company’s adult learners.
Dean Richmond, one of the RB delegates, said: “It’s good to come here and see the standards that HETA has now. It’s a different level compared to the previous facilities and all the apprentices have only good things to say about HETA in terms of contact time and quality of learning.”
Aimee Burman, HR and payroll technician at Bradbury Group, said the company, which provides physical security solutions, continued to expand rapidly having grown from 10 people when it started in 1992 to about 190 now.
She said: “We have had apprentices from HETA before and that went really well. They are still with us, and we are looking at taking more as we expand. Our apprentices came through HETA’s Scunthorpe division but we wanted to see the new Hull site and it’s an impressive facility.”
Malcolm Joslin, chairman of HETA, highlighted the company’s pedigree – formed more than 50 years ago by employers for employers and now welcoming its largest intake of female apprentices, with 19 joining last month.
He said: “It’s something we always seek to remember – providing the people that you need with the right engineering skills but also with broader people and employability skills.
“Our old site reached capacity and was not fit for the future. With this investment HETA is reflecting a confidence and belief in the economy of the Humber that is shared by organisations including the LEP and the local authorities.
“There are some incredible opportunities for these young people to provide the engineering skills and the talent that we need for the future. HETA is now set up to support them throughout their careers as we offer training packages to go from engineering apprenticeships through higher and further education into a number of adult engineering courses. Getting core engineering skills and then building and adapting those skills for whatever the future holds.”
Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady said: “We are very pleased that HETA is investing in Hull, in the shape of a £4.5 million refurbishment of the facility in Dansom Lane.
“Thanks to the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership in partnership with Hull City Council, HETA were able to secure £1.3 million of funding from the Local Growth Fund to secure the move. HETA is a fantastic local organisation and we wish them all the best in their new home.”