MORE than 50 people are working towards a career with one of the region’s largest employers thanks to a partnership with a training provider.

Peterlee-based GEM Training, which provides training and apprenticeships specifically developed for its clients, has been working with lawnmower-maker Husqvarna, in Newton Aycliffe, for some time and has supplied more than 500 temporary workers into the company.

The relationship is helping Husqvarna nurture its next generation workforce, and currently there are 53 people who have completed apprenticeships or are in the process of undertaking programmes.

Many of those apprenticeships have been completed during lockdown, when training and development delivery has had to be significantly adapted to ensure learners were able to continue with their training.

Rufus Ayre from Husqvarna said: “Attracting talent into our business and nurturing that talent is an integral element of our growth plans. Our partnership with GEM Training is really enhancing our business development.

“What is good for us is that GEM Training understands our business, and specifically tailors their programmes to suit our recruitment programme, so we know the apprentices are completing training and qualifications in areas that will benefit our business.

“Apprentices are so important to our long-term success – we’re investing in them so they are ideally positioned to become fully-fledged employees with our business with the chance to grow with us. That’s backed up by the number of existing employees who have come through this route and are continuing to move up the career ladder, and also the two people who have recently graduated with a BEng Mechanical Engineering qualification with a view to becoming project engineers and they both have ambitions of moving into management roles.”

Up to now, GEM Training, which is part of GEM Partnership, has helped 33 people complete an ‘Improving Operational Performance: Business-Improvement Techniques, Level: 2’ apprenticeship and the company is now in the process of developing some of these apprentices further with a qualification in team leading with the potential of developing from a multi-skilled operator to becoming a line leader.

Kelly Lee, Operations Manager at GEM Training, said: “Our partnership with Husqvarna is thriving with over 50 employees currently completing bespoke apprenticeships which have been specifically developed to meet the needs of Husqvarna. It’s also about upskilling current employees to equip them with the qualifications they need to progress through the ranks.

“What we’ve been particularly impressed with is the attitude and commitment of the apprentices during the months of lockdown. How we trained them had to be significantly adapted, and of course Husqvarna wasn’t operating in the usual way either, but all remained 100 per cent committed to their development and that’s backed up by the fact 33 of them have completed their Level 2 programmes.

“In fact, some are looking to progress in team leading which is fantastic and shows their willingness to push themselves, but also Husqvarna’s belief in them.”