Wilton Engineering is celebrating the rapid progress of a group of its apprentices who have passed their welding qualification in three months, allowing them to join the company’s workforce on the shop floor.

The team of five apprentices are part of Wilton Engineering’s first batch of 2023 intake to its in-house Apprenticeship Academy and have spent the past 14 weeks gaining fabrication skills in the dedicated training facility.

This takes the number of apprentices who have completed the qualification from the academy’s intake to eight.

The five apprentices are Taylor Storey, 19, Anthony Davies, 17, Jamie Hutchinson, 28, Jake Churchill, 24 and Alex Singleton, 17.

Having completed the Level 2 City & Guilds Diploma in Fabrication and Welding as part of their apprenticeship, they will continue to develop their skills contributing to Wilton Engineering’s major fabrication projects for customers in the defence and offshore industries.

The apprentice cohort is a mixture of students taking up the vocational route to a career from school along with others who have been drawn to it from other routes including one ex-serviceman, Jamie Hutchinson.

From its extensive 112-acre site on the banks of the River Tees, which straddles Port Clarence and Haverton Hill, Wilton has an extensive order book of projects for the design, manufacture, blasting and painting of large modular complex steel structures, primarily for the Offshore Oil and Gas and UK defence sectors.

To support its long term, sustainable portfolio of projects, Wilton is both attracting talented people into its workforce, which currently stands at 350 as well as investing in the development of its future workforce.

During 2022 Wilton opened its Apprenticeship Academy with a cohort of 30 apprentices, with their ages ranging from 16 to 32. The company also offered apprenticeship opportunities to existing employees looking to upskill or retrain, with a pair of places taken by labourers from the site.

Bill Scott OBE DL, chief executive of Wilton Engineering, said: “I am exceptionally proud of our apprentices who are showing great dedication and passion for their training. To have our first group sail through their welding qualifications is fantastic and also an important milestone in their training. It means they can spend more time on the shop floor working alongside their colleagues gaining invaluable experience working on some impressive, large and complex projects.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our next intake of apprentices into the academy soon, which will help maintain the drum beat of apprentices each year feeding the next generation with highly skilled people within our organisation.

“We are taking a holistic approach to apprenticeships and are supplementing our trade apprentices with degree level design, accounting and trainee project controls engineers to strengthen our workforce across the business for the long-term.”