Two leading North East companies have provided a major boost for apprenticeships in the region.

North of England construction company, Esh Group, has welcomed its largest apprenticeship cohort since 2018 and Beyond Housing has welcomed another eight to its team.

The latest intake at Esh sees the current number of apprentices employed in 2023 rise to 29, with apprentices now making up 8% of the group’s workforce.

Qualifications range from Level 2 up to degree level across a wide variety of subject areas including engineering, joinery, plastering, quantity surveying, social value, health and safety, site management, IT, and groundworks.

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Esh Group’s HR Director, Chris Watson, said: “The latest cohort represents our profound commitment to developing talent and driving progress within the industry, and we will continue to invest in opportunities that offer clear paths into construction for everyone.

“At Esh, we’ve always had a ‘grow your own culture’ - we have a number of success stories of long-serving colleagues across the business who have progressed with us. For example, our own Deputy Chief Executive, Stephen Wilkie, started with the business in 1989 and was employed straight from school as a trainee engineer. We want our apprentices to build their career with us and continue to develop, with long-term aspirations of progressing into more senior roles in the future.”

The Northern Echo: Beyond Housing's new intakeBeyond Housing's new intake

Apprentice Lucy Youlton is the first social value apprentice recruited at Esh Group to support the delivery of Esh’s award-winning social value initiatives, including the re-launch of the Building My Skills programme in 2024. She added: “I had never considered construction as a career route, and I didn’t know what social value was until I came across the apprenticeship opportunity with Esh.”


As part of Esh Group’s partnership with the North East Institute of Technology, a number of the apprentices will study courses at New College Durham and Middlesbrough College. Ten have been recruited to work within Esh’s civil engineering division, specifically on water and wastewater network frameworks which sees Esh deliver reactive and planned repairs and maintenance up to large-scale capital investment projects in partnership with Northumbrian Water Group.

Beyond Housing’s eight new apprentices including two via the housing provider’s VIP apprenticeship events.

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Since the launch of Beyond Housing in 2018, the organisation has taken on 58 apprentices in a bid to provide local people with a career path of their choosing. As apprentices, the talented individuals will spend their time learning about their profession at college whilst also completing practical hours each week in areas such as electrical, joinery, painting, HR, and business administration.

Maria Taylor, Apprentice & Volunteer Team Leader at Beyond Housing said: “For many years we have been committed to our apprenticeship programme and providing local people with a variety of learning and employment opportunities.

“We are passionate about raising aspirations, reducing inequality, and ensuring that our workforce reflects the communities we serve.”