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Chamber response to employment statistics


The labour market statistics released this morning show a fall in employment and a small increase in unemployment in the North East, against the national trend.

Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “In our recent Quarterly Economic Survey results, Chamber members reported a positive outlook on future recruitment plans and noted concerns about the difficulty of recruiting for skilled technical roles.”

“We are campaigning to create a working North East where all our region’s employers are supported to recruit, train and retain talented staff. In particular we want flexible funding to enable businesses and providers to work together to address skills needs.”

The Government launched a Fire It Up campaign last week to encourage more young people and companies to realise the benefits of apprenticeships.

One successful company doing this is Cramlington pharma business Sterling Pharma Solutions Ltd (SPSL). It has used apprentices as a key part of its long term strategy to develop its multi-skilled workforce which has helped deliver growth from £23m in four years to £60m.

Chris Wiper, SPSL said: “SPSL like many other organisations in the sector have an ageing workforce, we are investing now to ensure the experience and expert knowledge gained by our staff over many years of service is passed on to the next generation. This will ensure the long term success of our business in years to come. Apprenticeships are the most sustainable and cost-effective way for us to succession plan whilst growing a committed and engaged workforce opening up pathways for future new talent to our organisation.”

Ben Moffatt, Apprentice, Hazard Evaluation Scientist and Young Apprentice Ambassador, SPSL said: “At SPSL, I have been given a very unique opportunity to work in a Hazard Evaluation laboratory which has allowed me to excel in my Apprenticeship and professional development. I highly rate and value the opportunity I have received and would greatly recommend an apprenticeship offered by the company for anyone who is interested in STEM.

My apprenticeship is one of the very few, if not only, that focuses on process safety and hazard evaluation in the UK. My role has me performing testing on explosive potentials of solid dusts as well as world first research on cutting edge technologies in the chemical industry.

The 30 employees we have studying Apprenticeships now account for over 8% of our total workforce which is evidence of the commitment and belief we have in quality Apprenticeships. One in five new members of staff recruited by SPSL since September 2015 was an Apprentice.