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Middlesbrough College Group gives Tees Valley investors a skills advantage

27 Jun 2022

When ambitious, high productivity businesses are growing, they come to the Tees Valley.

Not least because we’ve got people with the skills they need.

And that’s not by accident. Our sector strengths in chemical and process, clean energy, digital, low carbon and hydrogen, engineering and advanced manufacturing mean we’re training people at the cutting edge of technology and knowledge.

Middlesbrough College Group is at the epicentre of that training drive.

Through the main College, our apprenticeship and training arm Northern Skills, and internationally renowned technical training specialist TTE, we’re working with some of the most ambitious businesses to invest in the region, including British Steel, Correll Group, ICL Group, Mitsubishi Chemical and Sembcorp Energy, among others.

Through our partnership with offshore/onshore electrical installation company Correll, we’re helping to deliver the skills that are fuelling our region’s push to be at the heart of the country’s push towards Net Zero.

Our experts at TTE are giving Correll’s latest cohort of apprentices the skills and competencies they need to become technicians carrying out essential maintenance for renewable energy companies – including on subsea cables and wind turbines.

Sam Dowey, managing director of Correll Group, which operates in Europe, Asia and the US, said: “We’re a team of more than 450 technicians that keep the renewable energy industry going. It’s highly specialised work that requires precision skills. That’s why we’re invested in our apprentices – the future of our company.

“With the help of TTE’s expert tutors, we’ve designed an apprenticeship scheme that will give our learners all the skills and competencies of a well-rounded technician who could tackle all aspects of the work we do.”

Correll’s skills are increasingly in demand on Teesside, and around the world, as the transition to Net Zero picks up pace.

The company’s apprentices – all from Teesside – are already playing a vital role in specialist projects for some of the biggest renewable energy operators onshore and offshore. That means tasks such as the connection of high voltage cables, the joining of fibre optic cables, testing and the maintenance of testing equipment.

John Cooke, training operations manager at TTE, explained: “We’ve worked with Correll’s team to shape a programme that will create long lasting skills and secure its workforce for many years to come.

“Our training programmes are constantly being created, adapted and refined through our close relationships with businesses.

“Our team is made up of people with real industry experience, many having worked their way up from apprenticeships to senior positions in fields such as petrochemicals, oil and gas and manufacturing.

“It means they’re ideally positioned – with strong professional networks and on-the-ground knowledge – to support inward investors and tailor training to meet specific commercial objectives.

Building on TTE’s reputation in the region, we recently secured £4m of Government funding towards the replacement and relocation of the current TTE site – a £10m investment that could help accelerate Tees Valley’s Net Zero transformation.

Subject to a planning application approval, TTE’s new facility will train 300 full time students, 300 apprentices and 500 adults, alongside a thriving international cohort.

It will be a UK centre of excellence for STEM subjects, allowing us to expand into new sectors such as clean, green and renewable energy, retrofit, zero carbon and offshore high voltage, securing technical skills that are in demand and valued by employers across the Tees Valley and beyond.

That’s in addition to our new multi-million-pound, state-of-the-art Digital Centre, brand new Construction Centre and extension to our industry-leading STEM Centre.

These recent investments have attracted the attention the likes of Professor Brian Cox CBE and Microsoft techspert Dave Coplin, who both recently visited Middlesbrough College to see the extent of the £20m investment programme – with Professor Cox saying it would put our region at the “forefront of the new industrial revolution”.

That’s because our approach is not only to keep pace with the skills businesses need to innovate and grow, but to stay ahead of the curve and create programmes that meet future requirements.

Through our apprenticeship training arm, Northern Skills, we work with more than 2,000 businesses that are benefiting from a mix of professional and technical programmes spanning everything from accounting to welding.

We’re also the Tees Valley delivery partner in the North East Institute of Technology (IoT), making us one of only a handful of such institutes in the country bringing together further education providers, universities and employers.

Matt Telling, group director of business engagement and partnerships at Middlesbrough College Group, said: “We’re investing in new facilities and are ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering the skills businesses need – including a host of inward investors who we’ve forged long-standing relationships with.

“And it’s not just world-leading research centres, top-quality manufacturing sites or the low cost of operating that’s enticing them here. Skills provision is one of the key drivers for businesses investing in the area and Middlesbrough College Group is the engine behind that wave of talent.

“We’re also closely aligned to significant opportunities in regional developments including the Teesworks and Freeport developments in the Tees Valley and in the burgeoning digital sector, for example.

“Through the IoT, our T Levels offering and more, Middlesbrough College Group is providing the skills underpinning the region’s success and we’re on hand to help more employers take advantage of all that the region has to offer.”

Matt is keen to meet with businesses and employers across the region and beyond to understand their needs and to look at how Middlesbrough College Group can offer support. For an informal chat on how we could help your business, contact Matt on 01642 333902 or at

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