The region’s top apprentices, and a man who has been a champion for North East training, have been recognised at a prestigious awards event.
More than 500 people attended the 11th annual TDR (Training and Development Resource Ltd) dinner. TDR works closely with local employers – including the event’s main sponsor British Engines – to provide high quality modern apprentices, develop workforces and promote engineering as an exciting career for young people.
Guest speaker Newcastle Eagles coach and inspiration Fab Flournoy told the audience: “TDR gives people opportunities and chances. Take advantage of it.”
TDR was set up 11 years ago by British Engines and other local engineering and science companies to ensure they were able to take on apprentices who had already received relevant initial training.
Someone who was instrumental in establishing TDR was Ron Dodd. During the evening tributes were paid to Ron including a video presentation showing his work with apprentices and trainees. Ron, who is also a main board director of British Engines, had a simple message for young apprentices: “The harder you work the luckier you get. If you don’t do it now you’re not going to when you’re older – so you’ve got to stick in and work.”
TDR executive vice chairman Bill McGawley said: “When the public sector wanted to set up something like TDR, it said to businesses it wanted someone to run it. And it said ‘Here’s Ron Dodd’”.
British Engines third year apprentice Thomas Adamson, 21, from Ryton, received a standing ovation as he received the award for the Advanced Apprentice of the Year in engineering. Thomas has worked hard with TDR and at British Engines after an undistinguished school record.
“When I left school I didn’t have the best grades, not realising that you need them to get on. I’ve now put that right and am thrilled to get this award,” he said.
Ian Young, managing director of TDR, said: “When you see 150 young people in the audience do better it’s not 150 young people sitting there. I see 150 career paths and 150 opportunities to go on and do better things.”
Mr McGawley said, despite many people’s impression, there is an exciting future for engineering and science businesses but many firms had overlooked the need to maintain a well-trained workforce. British Engines was an exception, though, having taken on hundreds of apprentices over the years.
“It has kept the pipeline full through the good and bad times. It’s kept the regional economy going,” he said.