New academy helps 13 secure work

Pictured in centre amongst the trainees who gained employment (L-R) David Wearly, project manager, Robert Bowles, chairman of Barrier Group, Shaun O'Brien of UKTS and Nadine Hudspeth of Gateshead College.

Pictured in centre amongst the trainees who gained employment (L-R) David Wearly, project manager, Robert Bowles, chairman of Barrier Group, Shaun O'Brien of UKTS and Nadine Hudspeth of Gateshead College.

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More than a dozen people have secured employment at a Wallsend yard thanks to a successful course.

A group of 26 unemployed individuals from Gateshead are the first to graduate from a new oil, gas and renewables academy after taking part in a pilot programme.

The trainees have completed a bespoke, three-week fire protection and rope access training programme delivered by Gateshead College, UK Total Solutions (UKTS) and parent company, Barrier Ltd.

And 13 of the group who graduated will now join Barrier’s workforce based at its Wallsend facility, with the remainder completing a one week work placement.

The academy, which was created thanks to a strategic partnership between UKTS and Gateshead College, equips trainees with the competencies and qualifications required to complete projects utilising rope access.

Nadine Hudspeth director of marketing and communications at Gateshead College, said: “The Oil Gas and Renewables Academy not only supports skilled employment in the region, it also addresses skills gaps within north east industries.

“Our partnership with UKTS allows us the opportunity to develop the best training programmes to benefit learners and employers, providing career prospects and a highly skilled workforce.

“Gateshead College is thrilled at the feedback from UKTS on the success of the academy’s pilot scheme and we look forward to it continuing, growing and contributing to our local economy.”

Mick Flaherty, managing director at UKTS, said: “The first group to pass through our academy have gained a wide range of valuable skills that will serve them extremely well when moving into industry.”

Robert Bowles, chairman of Barrier Group, said: “It’s encouraging to see that the programme UKTS and Gateshead College have devised is working well in practice.

“It is extremely important that training providers deliver programmes with a career path in mind and the culture of ‘training for trainings sake’ is abandoned and replaced with Training for Job’s.

“Within a couple of years the academy will have helped produce hundreds of capable employees ready to move straight into the world of work and help ease the industry-wide skills shortage.”