After holding an initial open day about the scheme, 12
applicants were selected to undertake a two week course at the
College which looked at a range of topics relating to the Banks
apprenticeship, including health and safety, team building and
working on site.
Banks then invited the applicants to visit the Shotton
mine to talk about the work that the successful candidates would
do, the training they would receive and the equipment that they
would be using. Managers at the site also talked to them
about their own skills, experience and qualifications, and how
they've built their career with the family-owned firm.
Each of the candidates will be giving a presentation on
what they've learned so far about the family-owned firm as part of
the final interview process, and Banks is looking to make its
apprenticeship appointments soon.
Northumberland College formed a recruitment and training
partnership with The Banks Group in 2012, when the
Durham-headquartered firm appointed four local
The bespoke apprenticeships include a comprehensive
training programme at the College as well as on-site work, and were
created as part of Banks' continuing commitment to providing direct
benefits to the community through its local operations.
The scheme offers qualifications up to NVQ Level Three in
disciplines specifically relevant to the plant skills Banks Mining
requires, as well as helping the apprentices develop a wider range
of skills and knowledge that they will be able to use throughout
their working lives.
Banks Mining also makes a range of equipment on site
available for the College, including engines, hydraulic systems and
excavator buckets, which reflects the equipment that the
apprentices would work with on a daily basis, and has also arranged
for its present apprentices to undertake additional visits to the
premises of its plant suppliers, as well as training modules with
the online Caterpillar University.
Around 140 people work at the Shotton site, alongside a
further 60 at Brenkley Lane, and the two sites jointly contribute
over £35m every year to the regional economy through wages,
investment and the local supply chain.
John Welsh, plant assets manager at Banks Mining, says:
"As one of Northumberland's largest private sector employers, we
feel we have a responsibility to provide training and development
opportunities for local young people who want to make their way in
the world, and to help them gain skills that will not only serve
them well while they're working with us, but right through their
"Bringing our candidates onto the Shotton site gave them a
chance to get a close-up look at the sort of work they'd being
doing and the environment in which they'd be doing it, and also
gave us a chance to see and speak to them too.
"The training that our present apprentices have received
has given them the foundations on which to build successful
careers, and there'll be every opportunity for our new recruits to
follow them down this path."
The Northumberland College training programme covers a
range of different topic areas, including a competence-based NVQ
which will be assessed in the workplace, and appropriate numeracy,
literacy and ICT support.