Car parts firm doubles apprentice intake

Unipres, a Sunderland-based car parts firm is doubling the amount of apprentices that it hires, after agreeing to promote engineering as a profession.

Unipres is now targeting potential apprentices aged between 11 and 19.

The apprentices will come from four local schools, with Unipres agreeing to a partnership with the Industrial Cadets Initiative, an industry led accreditation creating a quality standard for workplace experiences.

Unipres plant director John Cruddace is enthusiastic about the agreement: ‘‘This is the first time we have been involved in this initiative.

“It’s another step in the process to try to inspire kids to think about engineering as a career path – they may not want to go to university and may not know what they want to do when they leave school.’’

In July, Unipres will be accepting its first intake of apprentices. Students from Castle View Enterprise Academy will become the first apprentices to start their work programme at Unipres as part of the new agreement.

‘‘They may decide to go into automotive or other areas of engineering, so the programme provides support not just for us, but for the sector as a whole,’’ continued Cruddace.

The apprentices will work 32 hours during their week’s placement, learning a variety of skills that include engineering and component manufacture. Once the week is over, the students will give a presentation, telling others about their experiences.

The scheme has the backing of the local Government, particularly with Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.

‘‘Unipres is a major employer in the city and its efforts to create skilled young people, both for its own business and the wider automotive industry across the city through the Industrial Cadets and apprenticeships schemes, should be applauded,’’ stated Watson.