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The Pledge

The Pledge Hartlepool College

Throughout 2021, the College met with 100s of employers and key stakeholders as part of an ongoing curriculum consultation. In amongst the 100s of hours of discussions, survey responses, and feedback there is one common theme…employers want to help. They want to help people experience the world of work, they want to educate them on the changes to their industry and they want to develop an exceptional workforce for the future.

However, knowing how to help can be difficult. With a variety of different ‘products’, an employer doesn’t know if it’s better to offer, for example, industry placement or if a traineeship would be better. That’s why Hartlepool College has simplified this with The Pledge.

All we ask our very generous and supportive business partners is to pledge to one or more of the following (ordered in terms of commitment level)

Apprenticeship, Traineeship, Industry placement, Work experience, Site visit, Guest lecture, Support an even and Staff knowledge exchange (staff visiting each other's organisation)

See below some great examples of ‘The Pledge’.



Hartlepool College's Steve Lord (right) and Coveris' Richard Byatt (second from left) with the first industry placement students
Hartlepool College's Steve Lord (far right) and Coveris' Richard Byatt (second from left) with the first industry placement students

A leading European packaging company with a base on Teesside has pledged to keep working with us after acknowledging that 75 members of its workforce have benefitted from the partnership already. That is how many employees from Coveris’ Hartlepool site have gone through an EAL Level 2 Diploma in Manufacturing course which has increased the understanding of Lean Manufacture and Waste Reduction.

And Coveris – which provides innovative, sustainable packaging solutions to various industries – is ready to develop the relationship by taking the College’s students on industry placements. It is all part of Coveris’ decision to support the College’s ‘Pledge’ programme, meaning the business is given the support it requires after pledging to enrol its employees on courses and, effectively, giving others valuable experience of the industry.

Richard Byatt, Coveris’ Engineering and Continuous Improvement Manager, said: "At Coveris Hartlepool, we were searching for partners to improve our business. Hartlepool College of FE was responsive, proactive and identified solutions to our needs. They provided a course for all of our staff, which was fully funded. The programme was delivered around our availability and has been very flexible and accommodating. Following the course, we have had people from our teams come forward with valuable improvement themes. I thoroughly recommend Hartlepool College to other businesses and I look forward to building our positive working relationship further."

He added: “As well as learning how to make the bags we produce more efficiently, they are learning about lean manufacturing as a whole, identifying the ‘Seven Wastes’ which are all around you and you don’t readily realise. They are also learning about 5S which is the industry standard for arranging things on the shop floor: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardise and Sustain. That is something which attracted me to the college because when you visit the College you realise they have an outstanding culture, and I noticed they operate 5S very well.”

Martin Buckley, Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement lecturer, teaching Coveris staff.
Martin Buckley, Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement lecturer, teaching Coveris staff.  

The 75 people who have gone through the course, led by Martin Buckley, are seen as the critical first step in Coveris’ planned culture change on its Oakesway Industrial Estate site. Richard added: “This is about ensuring Coveris is sustainable and minimising waste. Waste is everywhere. This course teaches you to identify where it is at, once you see it you can do something about it.”

Martin Buckley, Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement lecturer said “It was a pleasure to work with Coveris on this project. From the very first meeting you could see the buy-in from Richard and other senior managers from the organisation.  I was able to visit the factory to get a feel of what they do on a day-to-day basis and work closely with staff to design the course so it suited their needs exactly. It is incredibly pleasing to see some of the theories and practices that I delivered to Coveris staff now being implemented on the factory floor to drive up efficiencies within the organisation.”

The College, which also has an apprentice with Coveris, has started to deliver students on industry placements in the hope some end up becoming apprentices there. Richard said: “We have pledged to take students as part of this new venture, initiated by the College. This is about giving the College’s students more relevant experience, making them better candidates to go into industry. We are looking forward to finding the right students with the drive and ambition to work alongside us, and at the same time, developing our own mentor skills."

Students enrolled on the Industry Placement programme can carry out up to 60 days in industry to gain a much better understanding of their career sector - and is being rolled out to other businesses too.


Whatever course you choose, you'll get the highest level of training from specialist tutors, benefiting from their knowledge and experience of working not just in education but also in industry.