We have nothing but praise for Wilton Engineering for stepping in to help a number of apprentices who had lost their jobs. There has been an increase in redundancies during the coronavirus pandemic and the young men feared the worst after learning they only had 12 weeks to find new employment or lose their status.
The three have been followed by more recruits too. Now Ryan Lodge, Josh Tate, Matthew Geddes, Travis Miller, Connor Jack Lee, Jake Tait and Jackson Malcolm have all been taken on at the Middlesbrough-based company in the last ten months.
They are part of Wilton’s recruitment drive to support the delivery of pipeline projects in the offshore energy and defence industries. It is an excellent opportunity for our students at Hartlepool College.
Bill Scott, Chief Executive of Wilton Engineering having started out as an apprentice himself, said: “Wilton has a really good relationship with Hartlepool College which was forged when we first started our apprenticeship journey 27 years ago.
“In partnership, we have been able to train and develop lots of apprentices which is the lifeblood for the future of our fabrication business. Although Covid has been challenging for everyone, we are pleased that with a good order book we are able to continue that commitment last year and again increase the number of apprentices this year. To do this the partnerships we are forging with our customer base is equally important and we are pleased that with existing relationships we have a good platform to create further opportunities. Creating these skilled roles is imperative for our sector and we felt it was important that the time invested by these young people shouldn’t go to waste.”
Our students knew they had 12 weeks of government funding to rely on after losing their previous jobs – and Wilton was happy to give them that chance. Wilton’s Group HR Manager John Price said: “We were approached by Hartlepool College about a number of apprentices who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. When we interviewed them we were impressed with the work they had put in in challenging circumstances - a practical apprenticeship would undoubtedly have been difficult because of COVID restrictions. We were so impressed. In fact, we changed our plans and increased the intake of apprentices as a result.”
We currently have more than 800 apprentices gaining knowledge and skills, boasting an outstanding record in that area, working with various companies and partners across a wide range of sectors.
Harry Garraghan, a Lecturer in Fabrication and Welding there, said: “This shows what a class act and a great company Wilton is. Wilton’s work is of the highest quality and it is fantastic that they have saved a number of apprentices during the pandemic. We had three apprentices who worked full-time last April in the first weeks of lockdown. Instead of furlough, the company let them go. They had those 12 weeks to find a new job and, in the middle of a pandemic, the chances of them getting employment looked to be zero. Companies weren’t prepared to take them on with restrictions in place but Wilton stepped forward.
A few weeks ago Wilton recruited four Level 3 Plate Welders from our full-time cohort. We now have seven apprentices there and it is a great place to learn and develop. Bill Scott knows the importance of training and recruiting young people.”