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The Teesside Technical Training group (TTE) has just celebrated its 25th anniversary having helped more than 6500 local young people and technicians globally to gain industry skills and qualifications. Originally formed by ICI and British Steel, the organisation maintains excellent, close ties with Lucite International (LI). This close relationship has helped LI’s Cassel site in the UK to complete its biggest intake of apprentices in recent years, which resulted in two national awards.

This summer, two of LI’s sponsored apprentices were recognised for their hard work and achievements over the past two years. Nathan Hunter, who shared with us his experiences last week, was awarded TTE’s ‘Process Apprentice of the Year 2015’, while Robin Gibson was recognised as the ‘Most Improved Learner of the Year 2015’. Robin is working at the Wilton Centre as part of the lab team there. He successfully completed his Young Scientist Programme and is continuing to study for a Chemistry degree on a part time basis – he aims to graduate in 2018. We caught up with Robin and asked him about his plans for the future. He said: “I look forward to working towards set objectives within the Company throughout the year, to progress further and hopefully achieve great reports. As an apprentice I’ve only ever been given job roles so having specific objectives to work towards will be an exciting challenge. Describing how he felt about winning the TTE award, Robin added: “The award came out of nowhere so I was very surprised and I did not expect it at all. It was a pleasant way to end my time with TTE and a great feeling knowing that my progression has been noticed.”

A total of eight Production Technician Apprentices joined shift teams at LI’s Cassel site in August to complete the next stage of their training, which led to the facility’s biggest intake in recent years. The three former military service personnel and five school/college leavers, who have completed the first part of their apprenticeship training with local provider TTE, were all invited to meet their future colleagues and managers as part of a two-week induction on site.

Seven apprentices were taken on in 2014 and the production workforce at Cassel now includes 26 technicians who have come through an apprenticeship route in recent years. Six of these apprentices joined as part of a pioneering scheme, which looks to retrain the UK’s ex-service personnel into the production technician role via an apprenticeship. Their breadth of knowledge and team working experience is recognised as a great asset and they complement their younger counterparts very well in the working environment at Cassel. Melanie Jury, Cassel Site Director, said: “We have been particularly impressed with our former military recruits who bring engineering experience with technical and interpersonal skills that really fit well with our teams”.