Securing the Future of the North East’s Manufacturing Sector Through Apprenticeships

A Newcastle-based manufacturer of commercial fire alarm control panels is encouraging emerging talent to consider a career in manufacturing by showcasing the success stories of some of its brightest minds, all who began their careers with apprenticeships.

Recent research from the Youth Opportunity Index, a measure of education and employment outcomes for young people across England’s local authorities, found that the North East and Newcastle in particular is failing to offer opportunities for young people, coming 141 out of 150 councils in England.

In light of these figures Advanced, more than ever, recognise the value of building a talent pipeline and driving up the region’s skills through apprenticeships, while offering highly-skilled technical careers in the Fire Industry - a sector that has struggled with a widespread lack of skills preventing the recruitment of new talent nationally.

Going against the current North East trends are Technical Support Apprentice, Laura Shaw and Technical Support Engineer, Nick Blackhall who both began their careers with an Electrical and Electronic Engineering apprenticeship qualification at Advanced. 

For Laura and Nick, apprenticeships opened their eyes to the unique and engaging line of work a career in manufacturing can offer and now both work within the fire systems manufacturer’s award-winning technical support department.

Laura said: “Working within the technical support department no two days are the same. I answer customers’ technical queries via email and telephone, I test configuration files from customers to determine faults and, as my product knowledge and understanding has grown, I have begun to validate and test new equipment and software. The opportunity to work alongside senior technicians and customers alike has also had a positive impact on my communication skills, which now come much more naturally.”

Currently working towards his degree apprenticeship, Nick provides fire engineers with the necessary training on how to use Advanced’s industry-leading fire systems. Nick added: “I’d encourage more young people to consider an apprenticeship in manufacturing as I’ve seen first-hand the development opportunities on offer. Work-based learning carried out in the setting of Advanced’s new multimillion-pound factory has been a useful experience in itself. However, the most valuable skill I have developed at Advanced is confidence, never in a million years would I have believed I would be the youngest guy in the room training engineers on a daily basis.”

Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 PLC Halma, has invested over £1million in its new premises in Balliol Business Park, Longbenton. The investment includes manufacturing facility improvements, equipment and an office design project that has delivered state-of-the-art offices, communications technology and social facilities to create new capacity and an engaging, modern office environment. The firm expects to see job openings across the business in the near future as they continue to establish themselves in their new home of North Tyneside. 

Head of HR at Advanced, Paula Hill, said: “For almost a decade Advanced has been committed to driving up the skills base within the region’s manufacturing sector through apprenticeships. From day-one we place our apprentices directly into teams such as Engineering, Quality and Technical Support according to the businesses’ needs. The emerging talent of today are the businesses’ leaders of tomorrow and while apprentices receive hands-on training, skills development, experience and a qualification, employers benefit from talented, skilled and engaged employees who recognise their employer’s investment in their development.”

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 4 to 8 March, 2019 and serves to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, individuals, local communities and the wider economy.

Advanced is a world leader in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The legendary performance, quality and ease of use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.

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Advanced Fire Systems

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