New apprentices at engineering firm

New apprentices at Northern Engineering Solutions with directors Mark Hodges (left) and Mark Davey.
New apprentices at Northern Engineering Solutions with directors Mark Hodges (left) and Mark Davey.

A specialist engineering company, which has an impressive track record in developing staff, has increased its workforce by a third after taking on four new apprentices.

Northern Engineering Solutions Ltd, based in North Shields, is about to announce a record 12 months, has plans for further growth and this year celebrates a decade in business.

During that time, it has worked across the UK and around the world, providing expert solutions for major businesses and organisations – including the Centre for Process Innovation, De La Rue, Nestle, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover.

It has also provided top-quality training and support. As well as the four fresh starters, three of its current employees joined the company as apprentices.

Mark Hodges, co-director, said: “I came up through the apprentice route and in that company, every tradesman had an apprentice. That was how knowledge was passed down, and it works.”

The four new apprentices – Joe Dunn, from Blyth, and James Nicholson, from Percy Main, both 17, 16-year-old Cain Dobson, from North Shields, and 18-year-old Jackson Bell, from Seaton Delaval – spent eight weeks at AIS Connect in North Shields, a specialist training centre, before coming to Northern Engineering for a month’s work experience.

Mark Davey, co-director, said: “Having already worked with AIS for our own coded welders, the four AIS trainees impressed so much that all four were offered apprenticeships.”

He added: “It was fantastic to see their faces when we told them. Taking on apprentices is all part of our succession planning, but we also want to give something back.

“It’s really rewarding to see everybody working so well with them but especially our former apprentices, who are now qualified welders, tradesmen plumbers and experienced pipe fitters themselves. They recognise that somebody gave them that same support when they started.” The apprentices will spend one day a week at AIS continuing their training.

Joe Dunn said: “It’s harder than school, but it’s worth it.”

The attraction for Jackson Bell was the prospect of hands-on work rather than sitting in a classroom or lecture hall: “You’re getting involved in things. You’re doing something different every day, most engineers have to go to university for four or five years, so this way we’ve done the basic training with AIS and we’ve come straight into a job and it is all great experience.”

The four will work across the range of the specialist engineering services provided by Northern Engineering Solutions. Using its expertise in process engineering it has delivered a number of high-end projects for numerous high-profile customers in the health, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, higher education and technology sectors.

Through its Northern Effluent Solutions division, the business is also highly accomplished in providing innovative and cost-effective answers to customers’ trade effluent problems. For example, on behalf of De La Rue – which every year prints millions of bank notes – it designed a new water-effluent treatment plant and constructed it on Tyneside inside four shipping containers. The containers were then transported to the customer’s factory in Nairobi, Kenya.