Gestamp Tallent Automotive has gone back to school to recruit workers and inspire young people to enter manufacturing.
The automotive manufacturing company in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham has set Year 11 pupils at nearby Woodham Academy a series of challenges with the winners having the opportunity to get a job.
Pupils will be spending National Apprenticeship Week preparing their presentations knowing a successful pitch on March 27 could see them hired.
The scheme was set up in association with Durham’s education and business partnership and is now in its fourth year.
Having recruited eight children from the school in that time, David Pearson, Gestamp Tallent’s training controller, is hopes this year’s intake will bring that total to double figures, given the quality of work he has seen so far. Gestamp Tallent will recruit up to 18 apprentices this year.
“We offer everyone in Year 11 the opportunity to apply for the scheme,” said Mr Pearson. “Tasks include purchase, design-based tasks and a presentation to directors in our boardroom. These young people are our future toolmakers, maintenance technicians and managers.
This year Gestamp Tallent has 11 pupils taking part in the final stages who will go through its full recruitment process. “We have invested a lot of time and money in the scheme but it has been well worth it. We have recruited some very good young people as a result,” Pearson added.
Woodham Academy is involved in several initiatives with local businesses to promote the fact an apprenticeship route can be just as valuable as going to university.
Deputy headteacher Jonathan Lumb said: “I am delighted to see our students taking high quality apprenticeships within the local community.”
Sector skills council Semta and has helped the company put 400 employees through NVQ Level 2. The skills body says this has led to better skilled operators, increased productivity and a greater understanding which created ownership of skills in the workplace.
Semta chief executive Sarah Sillars said: “This initiative is exactly the sort of thing that should be showcased as best practice for other firms to consider.”
Tallent was taken over by Spanish giant Gestamp Automocion in 2011. The company designs, develops and produces a variety of parts for carmakers. Their biggest customer is Volvo followed by Ford, while it also supplies Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen.