April 30, 2018
International trading is a thriving opportunity which many North East businesses, working across a range of industries, are taking advantage of. Last year alone, 3000 exporters in the region were cashing in on the potential of overseas markets.
Although the UK economy faces uncertain times in the wake of Brexit, the value of North East exports rose to £12.9 billion in 2017, according to the latest figures from HMRC – an increase of eight per cent on the previous year.
It’s clear that the region’s businesses are already capitalising on international markets and many are doing so with the help of Gateshead College.
Working with dozens of businesses across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering and automotive, the college is helping upskill workforces, so they can grow market share overseas.
Working with Washington-based manufacturer and aerial-lift specialist Snorkel Europe Ltd, the college is delivering a supply chain apprenticeship, combined with a team leadership training programme, which is being delivered through the Go>Grow programme – created after Gateshead College secured £15m of funding from the European Social Fund.
The supply chain apprenticeship enables staff to acquire the key skills and knowledge needed to operate overseas as well as in the UK. The apprenticeship equips staff with practical knowledge such as how to send aerial lifts abroad, how to process transport documentation for export goods and how to monitor the movement of products as they enter the country of their destination.
Jane Simpson, HR manager for Snorkel Europe Ltd, says: “Snorkel has a long-standing relationship with the college, simply because we know that they understand our business and our long-term strategy for growth.
“The apprenticeship is delivered with our input, which ensures that the training is tailored to the requirements of our business and apprentices acquire the skills we really need. It prepares them for international trade by covering key elements of the export market supply chain, such as currency fluctuations and the different customs procedures for sending products to other countries.”
The college is also working with Norseal, a provider of specialist seal solutions which protect against excess noise, fire and smoke. The college is delivering two apprenticeships: customer service and warehousing and storage.
The apprenticeships have been designed specifically to prepare staff for the challenges of export markets. They cover a range of essential topics, such as how to develop effective working relationships with overseas partners, how different countries handle imports, and the various warehousing and storage processes in the export logistics cycle.
Neil Smeatom, general manager at Norseal’s Prudhoe site, says: “Although we do most of our business in the UK, export markets are also important to us. The apprenticeships we deliver with Gateshead College help our staff gain key skills that are useful to us as we look to grow market share overseas.”
Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, adds: “Exporting is a great revenue-generating opportunity for North East firms. It’s great that we are able to help Norseal, Snorkel and other companies capitalise on overseas markets, become more competitive, and support the North East economy.”