Apprenticeships celebrated in South Durham

A local training provider which counts industry leaders among its former apprentices has opened its doors for National Apprenticeship Week.

South West Durham Training in Newton Aycliffe hosted an open evening this week for prospective apprentices. The charity was founded nearly fifty years ago and counts Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, and Mike Matthews, UK MD of Eaglescliffe car parts maker Nifco as former apprentices. The current president of the NE Chamber of Commerce also attended the centre.

Some of the current apprentices at SWDT are work at Hitachi’s new manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe.

Chief Executive Lee Childs was an apprentice at the training centre whilst working in Spennymoor at Black & Decker after leaving school. He says that his career and that of other former apprentices at the Newton Aycliffe centre is proof that the week’s theme ‘an apprenticeship can take you anywhere’ is not an exaggeration.

“Apprenticeships are now officially recognised as being a career path equal to degrees, and, among many others, we are currently training young engineers working for Hitachi’s rail manufacturing facility and skilled apprentices for international manufacturer 3M – both based here in Newton Aycliffe.”

Local engineering and manufacturing firms, including Roman Ltd and Springfield North East, are also supporting National Apprenticeship Week and this year’s theme of women in engineering apprenticeships.

Recruitment has also started for nine full time apprenticeships starting in September in fabrication, toolmaking, electrical & mechanical maintenance and welding. More information can be found at