French Style, via Trades Incorporation of Britain & Ireland (7 years)

A NEW highly respected French system of apprentice training is expected to be rolled out in the UK from the North East. Up to 20 young people aged over 16 will be the first in the UK to have the chance to learn key skills such as engineering, joinery and masonry in apprenticeships.

The organisation behind the scheme is the Trades Incorporation of Britain and Ireland (TIBI).

 

It has been backed by French agency Les Compagnons Du Devoir which runs Europe’s oldest apprenticeship scheme.

Students follow a basic two-year apprenticeship, rather than the year-long versions most commonly used in the UK, with a further five years of supervised training which includes some foreign travel. Dr Andrew Robinson is the French consul in the North East and part of the new venture. He said: “The key to this is rebuilding the UK economy and rebuilding the self-esteem of people.”

 

The French organisation has relocated its London office to Newcastle to help launch the British model. It is being sited in the North East to tap into the rich industrial heritage and proximity to labour markets in Scotland and the rest of the North.

Key members of TIBI, academics, politicians and successful fund-raisers believe skill shortages in the region are the consequence of society undervaluing manual trades.

 

Apprentices are expected to be taken on from September and there are plans for a new meeting and learning centre in Barnard Castle, County Durham. Deborah Jenkins, chairwoman of Barnard Castle Vision, who is on the steering committee of TIBI, said a suitable vacant building would have to be found first. She added: “It could take up to two years to get off the ground because we have to find the property in the town and then raise money for the development.

TIBI is already developing contacts in the Government and other agencies and has the backing of the Scottish Skills Minister.


Later this month there will be a high-profile conference and workshop in Newcastle to explain the job of the new apprentice organisation, in the hope that North East businesses will sign up. A consular dinner has also been organised for the previous evening with those attending to include the German, Belgium and Icelandic ambassadors, business leaders and civic leaders from the North East and the Bishop of Durham.

 

For more details, please contact:

Sylvain Jacob

UK Ireland & Channel Isles, Representative / Charge de Mission Zone, Anglophone, Les Compagnons du Devoir, Suite 2, The Grainger Suite, Dobson House, Regent Centre, Gosforth, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE3 3PF  Tel: 0044 (0)7 968 077534  [email protected]   www.compagnons-du-devoir  

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