Ground breaking project to build professional skills in construction sector

Unique North East England initiative to develop new careers and skills

A dynamic private sector led partnership in North East England is working with education to develop a new way of attracting talented young people into construction.

The innovative skills and careers programme, a first for the UK, is set to shake up the traditional way people are recruited and trained in a sector which shapes towns, cities and communities.

A powerful partnership of designers, builders, and project managers who operate in the ‘built environment’ have come together to campaign for change, to address the skills gap while also creating more valuable people through a new architectural engineering and management programme.

PlanBEE (Campaign for Change in the Built Environment) was launched by Ryder Architecture in 2013 and the campaign now also includes the support of Arup, Brims, Cundall, Desco, Esh, FaulknerBrowns, Napper Architects, Sir Robert McAlpine, Summers Inman, Surgo, Turner and Townsend, Xsite, 3eConsult, NELEP, RICS and ICE. Further partners are joining.

They have joined forces with the region’s leading further education organisation, Gateshead College to help devise a new way of recruiting and training young people for a career in the construction sector.

The new higher skills apprenticeship programme will be formally launched at Ryder’s home at Cooper’s Studios, Newcastle on July 25, 6pm-8pm.

Mark Thompson, managing partner at Ryder, said: “We’re delighted to have Gateshead College on board, alongside a number of universities. The facilities and staff at the college will provide valuable support throughout the course, ensuring cohorts receive the right balance of quality in-house educational content and hands on training with our business consortium members.

“We believe PlanBEE will inspire a new generation of bright, talented people to consider a rewarding career in construction. The blended learning approach, which includes residential elements alongside traditional day release, aims to deliver work ready graduates with the creative, practical and entrepreneurial ambition the industry needs to evolve.”

Gateshead College has devised an outline programme that gives new recruits a broader set of skills to ensure greater inter disciplinary working across the construction industry. Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, explained: “This is a genuinely exciting and innovative programme we’ll be offering people from this September.

“It’s a great example of how Gateshead College is taking its strong links with regional employers, listening to their concerns and then working in close partnership to find innovative solutions for complex issues. You have to be responsive and that is how we work.”

Employers across the sector have increasingly felt that current qualifications and degree courses are no longer fit for purpose; there needs to be a greater convergence in the skills traditionally sat within the disciplines of architecture, engineering, surveying and construction.

Meetings between Gateshead College and businesses have fine-tuned the higher skills apprenticeship programme that launches this autumn. The programme provides study and off the job training at the college’s modern construction facility on Team Valley with a job working with some of the region’s leading companies.

It has been tailored specifically for and by the North East construction sector. It provides students with a starting salary of £10,000 per annum, a professional qualification and a guaranteed job opportunity on graduation. The degree stages will be provided by a regional university starting in 2018.

The college and PlanBEE are also liaising with a regional university so students can study up to degree level. Chris Toon added: “Gateshead College is delighted to be able to offer young people interested in the construction industry a new way to build a career in this dynamic sector. It’s a real alternative to full time education where you have the opportunity to study up to degree level whilst earning and coming out with no debt but with a job offer – it’s an exceptional way to progress your career.”

For more information about the programme, contact [email protected] or visit

Get In Go Far

Get In Go Far is the government’s new advertising campaign, informing and inspiring young people to consider apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience as valid and credible routes to a rewarding career.

According to the government’s research, 70% of employers say that apprenticeships improved their products or services and the North East LEP recognises that apprenticeships are key to delivering more and better jobs and improving skills here in the North East.

We aim to reach a target of 30% of North East businesses employing an apprentice by 2017 and are investing in pre-apprenticeship training and traineeships.

We are also delivering support to North East SMEs to help them identify opportunities and create new opportunities for young people, though a partnership scheme – Generation NE.

The £4.5m scheme, which is led by a partnership of local authorities and the North East LEP, will provide dedicated support through a team of specialist business advisors, to businesses to help them offer work placements and traineeships.

Gill Southern, Co-Chair of our North East Business Support Board said: “Providing young people with work experience and skills development is essential. The local economy has great potential, but without the right workforce we won’t be able to achieve our ambitions for sustainable economic growth. SMEs are critical to providing these opportunities, and through schemes such as Generation NE we can ensure that they have the support they need to do this.”

Visit to find out more about the Get In Go Far campaign.

Paul Woolston to stand down as LEP Chair

Paul Woolston, who has led the North East LEP since its formation nearly five years ago, is to leave his post together with several colleagues in a number of changes to the board.

Paul, a former senior partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers, has led the LEP board as chair since the organisation was created in 2011. He will formally leave his post as chair at the next LEP board meeting on January 28 when his replacement will be announced.

Under his successful leadership, the North East LEP has:

• Delivered the North East Independent Economic Review led by Lord Adonis. This allowed the LEP to formulate the Strategic Economic Plan setting out how to achieve the economic growth needed to deliver 100,000 new and better jobs over the next decade

• Secured £1.5bn in central Government and European funding to finance new economic growth

• Retained the crucial £120m JEREMIE 2 business support fund in the North East, to be invested exclusively into scores of new and growing North East companies

• Successfully bid for two Enterprise Zones covering a total of 20 sites across the region. The first zone has created more than 1,200 new jobs to date, with a lot more to come, and the second zone is anticipated to deliver a further 14,000 jobs.

• Appointed the North East’s first innovation director – acclaimed entrepreneur and business leader Hans Moller – to oversee the investment of £125m to support creativity and dynamism in the region’s growing business base

• Established effective public-private sector advisory boards to stimulate innovation, business growth and skills development

• Created the North East Growth Hub – the comprehensive online resource for business advice, funding information, networking, news and events.

Paul said now was the time to stand down from his post and make way for a new chair.

“The timing is right for a new chair to lead the North East LEP forward at an exciting time in its development and for the region,” said Paul.

“We are entering a new year with a devolution deal for the North East agreed with Government and the combined authority, which will mean a new role for the LEP.”

Three further business board members will also step down as part of the LEP’s plan to stagger its board member leaving and replacement process, keeping experienced members in place to support newcomers.

Businesswoman Gill Southern stepped down from the LEP board just before Christmas, while Michael Bellamy and Arnab Basu will also leave the board as soon as replacement members are recruited.

As part of a rotation of duties, Northumbria University Vice-Chancellor Andrew Wathey and Jon Vincent, Principal and Chief Executive of TyneMet College, have both recently been appointed to the board to replace Anne Isherwood and Peter Fidler.

Paul added: “I would like to thank our business board members who have all really made a difference to what the LEP does, as well as Edward Twiddy and Helen Golightly for their executive leadership.

“Their intellect, innovation and energy means we have been able to turn a great strategy into great decision-making for the North East economy.

“Strong business representation is crucial to the long-term success of the North East LEP and I would urge businesspeople to help shape the region’s future by applying for a place on the board.

“I am genuinely proud of what we have achieved. Initiating the Adonis Review enabled us to produce the Strategic Economic Plan for the region.

“It is absolutely transformational and it is being adopted and embedded in the region to drive future economic success.

“The North East LEP has attracted an enormous amount of funding, £1.5bn, which is being allocated now to implement the Strategic Economic Plan.

“Our challenge now as a region is to eliminate the persistent economic gap between ourselves and other regions of the UK.”

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Vice Chair, said: “Under Paul’s leadership, the North East LEP has secured significant funding from Europe and Government to underpin vital economic development.

“He has helped build and establish the LEP in a changing political landscape and worked hard with the most senior levels of Government to ensure the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan is understood and supported.”

Arnab Basu said “It has been a privilege to serve alongside Paul on the LEP board since its beginning. He has been a tireless champion of the north east and I wish him well in the future.

“After five years it is only right that we make way for others to carry the mantle forward. The North East has such a vibrant and thriving business community and I have no doubt the new members will have brighter, fresher ideas and contribute fully to the vital task carried out by the LEP. I will look forward to following their success with great interest.”

Gill said: “I will continue to be a strong advocate of the North East LEP’s activity and work hard to ensure North East business seizes the maximum benefits a new political landscape will present.”

Councillor Simon Henig, Chair of the North East Combined Authority and Leader of Durham County Council, said: “Paul has created a strong foundation for the North East to move into a new phase as we work towards proposed devolution and an elected Mayor.”

Businesspeople interested in applying for a board member post at the North East LEP should contact Jim Allcroft at NRG. Email: [email protected] or Tel: 0191 2604483.

Are you looking to recruit IT and Developer apprentices?

For some young people a lack of experience in the working world is a significant barrier to finding their first role in the IT industry. The Dynamo Apprentice Hub has been set up to provide an effective starting point for businesses in the North East looking to recruit IT and Developer Apprentices.

For those who lack experience, the Dynamo Apprentice Hub offers the chance to undertake real work that often significantly improves their employment prospects.

There are real benefits to taking on a young person for work experience for your business and for your staff:

• You access a talent pool of well trained, work-ready young people who are keen to learn and develop with your support
• Mentoring a young person from the Dynamo Apprentice Hub in the workplace offers a development opportunity for members of staff looking for management or supervisory experience
• You support employment in your local community. Even if you are not able to offer a full-time apprenticeship for a young person to progress onto, the added value of the work experience you can offer will increase their chances of getting a job significantly

Work experience placements are typically 2-3 weeks, supporting a team with a project or working across different departments depending on your needs.

The training at the Dynamo Apprentice Hub is comprised of a 15-week programme offering an intensive IT skills training course with technical content aimed at preparing young adults for their first role in the IT sector. At the same time, employers are encouraged to get involved by supporting employment training in the hub and providing work experience opportunities for the learners.

Many of the learners at the Dynamo Apprentice Hub will have completed training and will be working towards qualifications from Microsoft and CompTIA in networking principles, providing customer support and software development fundamentals. Where could they help support your business?

There are no costs to you as the employer and there is no obligation to take an apprentice on full time after they have completed their work experience with you. Learners receive a small travel and subsistence allowance as part of the Dynamo Apprentice Hub to cover essential costs.

If you are interested, the next step couldn’t be easier; contact Pippa Gard at Baltic Training Services on 07852 900815 or [email protected].

North East LEP sponsors North East Apprenticeship Awards

Here at the North East LEP we recognise the value and importance of apprenticeships in helping to deliver more and better jobs for the North East.

It’s a core part of our Economic Plan and something we feel will help drive economic growth and improve skills within the LEP area.

The North East LEP is sponsoring next week’s North East Apprenticeship Awards, which take place at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle, on Thursday 15 October.

Part of the National Apprenticeship Awards, the North East ceremony will recognise and celebrate excellence in businesses that grow their own talent through apprenticeships and the apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Now in its 12th year, the North East Apprenticeship Awards is an opportunity for businesses in the LEP areas to showcase the benefits gained from an ongoing commitment to apprenticeships. It also puts apprentices themselves in the spotlight by recognising the impact they have on their place of work.

Winners at the North East Apprenticeship Awards will go on to the National Awards and the opportunity to compete as a National Apprenticeship Employer of the Year finalist. The national awards take place on 26 January 2016 at Grosvenor House, London.

Categories at this year’s North East Apprenticeship Awards include Newcomer SME Employer of the Year, Large Employer of the Year, Intermediate Apprentice of the Year and Apprenticeship Champion of the Year. Nominated businesses and apprentices have fought off competition from thousands of other entrants to reach the regional final.

Follow our twitter account @northeastlep this week to see who from the North East is in the running at this year’s Awards. We’ll be live tweeting on the night too.

For more information about the National Apprenticeship Awards, visit or follow the hashtag #NAA15 on twitter.