Banks Mining and Northumberland College launch new bespoke apprenticeships partnership

July 20, 2012 | Brenkley News

North east mining firm Banks Mining has formed a new partnership with Northumberland College to offer four bespoke apprenticeships to local young people. 

The company is looking to appoint three apprentice mechanics and one apprentice welder who will all receive on-the-job training at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines in south-east Northumberland, as well as undertaking a comprehensive training programme at Northumberland College over a two-year period. 

Banks and Northumberland College have spent two years developing the bespoke apprenticeships, which will offer qualifications up to NVQ Level Three that are specifically relevant to the skills Banks requires, as well as helping the apprenticeships develop a wider range of skills and knowledge that they will be able to use throughout their working lives. 

Banks will also be investing in making a range of equipment on site available at the College, including engines, hydraulic systems and excavator buckets, which reflects the equipment that the apprentices would work with on a daily basis. 

An open day will be held at Northumberland College’s Ashington campus between 10am and 3pm on Thursday 26 July at which local young people who are interested in the posts can find out more about them and ask any questions they might have. 

Candidates who make the shortlist will undertake a short course including an assessment exercise before the successful applicants start their apprenticeships in September.

Around 140 people work at Banks’ Shotton site, alongside a further 60 at the neighbouring Brenkley Lane surface mine, and the two sites jointly contribute over £20m every year to the regional economy through wages and the local supply chain. 

Gavin Styles, executive director at Banks Mining, says: “Banks is already a major employer in south east Northumberland, and offering these apprenticeships is a demonstration of our continuing commitment to providing direct benefits to the area through our operations here. 

“A great deal of careful planning has gone into designing these apprenticeships to ensure that they help the four young people that we take on develop skills that will serve them well throughout their entire working lives, as well as enabling them to contribute to the expansion of the skillsbase of our workforce.”

The training programme will cover a range of different topic areas, including a competence-based NVQ which will be assessed in the workplace, and appropriate numeracy, literacy and ICT support will also be provided as required. 

Mark Bolton, director of business development and partnerships at Northumberland College, adds: “We already work with a wide range of regional employers to help meet their apprenticeship and staff training needs, but the bespoke programme we have developed with Banks is a real advancement in terms of the specific development opportunities it will offer the successful candidates. 

“Having the equipment that the trainees will use on site actually at the College will make a real difference to both the training that they receive and the work they’re able to produce on site. 

“Providing training opportunities such as this has never been more important in helping young people develop the skills they need to succeed in the workplace, and we’re expecting strong interest in the positions that are available.” 

For more information on the Banks Mining apprenticeship programme, please contact Northumberland College on 01670 841268 or via  For further information on the project visit

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