Devoting time to young talent 

January 8, 2018

One North East consultancy is committed to inspiring and training the next generation of engineers

Since formation in 2004, local engineering company James Christopher Consulting (JCC) has always placed a high value on training local youngsters.

It took on its first work experience student back in 2005 and scores of work experience students, apprentices and graduates have since had the opportunity to develop their careers with this forward-thinking company.

Managing director Chris Lee says: “Our business has continued to evolve through steady growth and we have recruited experienced people from other businesses to add to our knowledge base. However, what has remained constant throughout is our belief in the benefits of training and retaining apprentices and fresh graduates.

“What people don’t often realise is that all of our directors started work as apprentices, working our way up, gaining experience and qualifications along the way. I will be forever grateful for Pittilla Bell taking a chance on me all those years ago and we are keen to give others a similar opportunity to show what they can do and to reach their potential.”

Director Kris Haigh continues: “As part of our structured mentoring schemes, graduates and trainees get the opportunity to work directly with a director on specific projects where they are encouraged to take a leading role under direct tutorage. Our directors are all hands-on engineers and this lets us see first-hand what makes our trainees tick and how we can help them develop their potential at a pace that is right for them. We never fail to be impressed with the talent that our trainees and new graduates have, and our job is to shape that talent into a valuable asset.”

Sonny Henderson joined JCC as an apprentice straight from school in 2013. He says: “The apprenticeship route allows you to learn and progress academically as well as practically on the job. I am in a position where I can work on a full-time basis, earning a salary as well as completing my training and education part-time without the need to worry about any finances or debts that are associated with full-time university.”

Sonny successfully completed his BTec and NVQ Level 4 courses and is now progressing towards achieving a Level 5 HND in Civil Engineering. He adds: “When I complete my degree, I will have excellent, recognised qualifications along with eight years of valuable experience in one of the best consultancies in the North East, where I hope to continue to progress and eventually become a chartered structural engineer.”

Andrew Webb, currently undertaking his HNC, agrees: “The experience I already have, from working at JCC, is more than the majority of graduates coming out of university. Having support from the friendly, supportive and experienced people at JCC also puts me at a huge advantage above the other full-time students on my course.”

In addition to running successful partnerships with local comprehensive schools, where JCC offers summer and vocational placements to students with an interest in Engineering, the company is currently developing a structured training programme aimed at sixth form students. This is to be implemented in summer 2018.

Chris concludes: “We are passionate about passing on our knowledge and joy of engineering. Investing in talented young people, who may otherwise may not have the chance to go to university, benefits the youngsters themselves, our company and the industry as a whole.”

James Christopher Consulting

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