From education to employment

£750,000 Expansion Set to Improve Courses Offered in North East

A new investment in the local Skills Centre in Durham looks set to launch the vehicle industry’s first training centre and apprenticeship scheme in the region.

In spite of the Government’s rejection of the Tomlinson Report’s recommendation for the immediate creation of vocational qualifications to run alongside and in partnership with the conventional ““ called the “gold standard qualifications” by Ruth Kelly MP, Minister of State for Education – GCSE and A Level assessments, apprenticeships are being hailed as the best solution for many of the skills shortages that plague the nation.

The learning centre to benefit is Skilltec, which is a Lifelong Learning Centre that is also a City and Guilds-accredited training centre offering students National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) qualifications at levels one and two, covering all aspects of the industry, including vehicle repair, estimating, painting and panel work.

Investment in Development

The centre is set to benefit thanks to the personal investment of the Crook, County Durham region managing director of Body Work Direct, David Blenkinsop, who has provided this funding to combat a skills shortage in the vehicle repair sector. The company moved to larger premises on the Beechburn Industrial Estate to accommodate the training centre, and the levels of staffing have consequently risen.

Speaking of this expansion, Mr. Blenkinsop said: “The industry suffers from a shortage of skills and we are committed to helping meet market demands by turning out highly-skilled, well-qualified people.” He continued: “We are determined to maintain the highest possible standards at Skilltec and are providing state-of-the-art facilities, highly-qualified trainers and paying apprentices double the usual rate.

“Skilltec is the only centre in the region totally dedicated to this industry and is designed for everyone, whether they are starting out on a career, want to improve their qualifications and skills or just learn to look after their own vehicle.”

Body Work Direct has a long history of beneficial co ““ operation in the skills and training of the region. Business Link County Durham has worked with the company on the project and invested in the workshops, which is also investing in a service bay and valeting area and expects to create more jobs in the next few months. Thus, there will be more jobs for the area, and training provided for those who require it.

Jethro Marsh

Panel beat FE into shape in the FE Blog

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