Barbour opens a new training academy at South Shields HQ

5:50pm, Tue 1 May 2012by Richard Salkeld

– last updated Tue 1 May 2012Barbour academyTrainees getting used to using the equipment at the Barbour academy. Photo: ITV

Set up in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education and the Sora Group, the Barbour Academy told ITV Tyne Tees, it aims to revive interest in careers in the industry by delivering apprenticeships, employability skills and bespoke training for those currently employed or wishing to seek employment in the textile industry.

What we’ve found is naturally as people retire, we’re not finding the skills out there to replace the jobs that we have here so rather than run around and try and find that we’ve decided to do this in-house and open-up the academy and hopefully bring people in who are unemployed who would like to learn that skill and come into the academy and hopefully there’ll be a job here at the end of it.

– Brenda Redman-Bell, Barbour

Around 50 students have been selected to take part in the first Barbour Academy at the South Shields HQ.

It will offer students training in oral, written and communication skills along with support in learning new technical and practical textile skills.

The factory in South Shields employs 150 staff with an additional 250 around the region.

Students at today’s press launch said the training project offers them hope for a long-term career.

It means a chance to a life basically, I’ve been unemployed since January so times are really hard. Having to sell my car and live in a not very nice little house, but hopefully I’ll get back on my feet if I do get on with this course.

– Jane Scott, Barbour Academy trainee

It means a lot to me, basically I want a job and obviously I’ve found something I can do and that I can manage so obviously it’s all new to me – I’m just hoping for a job at the end of it.

– Jamie Gill, Barbour Academy trainee

The company is represented in 40 countries including the USA and Japan with an estimated annual turnover of £89.8 millon based on 2010 data.

Assistant Principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education said it has taken more than 12 months of negotiations to secure the partnership.

What we want to do together with the college which is passionate about developing skills as well is to develop some real opportunities for people who are unemployed, also people who are employed and want to up-skill, some real opportunities for them to develop themselves and move into employment.

– Andrew Steel, Hartlepool College Assistant Principal.

Watch Richard Salkeld’s report here on ITV News Online.


Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager

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