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Universal Wolf recent recruits from Port of Blyth training program

Tackling the engineering skills shortage with award-winning training program

19 June 2024

Universal Wolf partners with Northumberland Skills and Northumberland County Council to tackle engineering skills shortage with award-winning training program


Award-winning training course from Universal Wolf and Northumberland Skills supports local people into jobs and further training.


At Universal Wolf, we’ve long been focused on supporting our colleagues in their development through our ‘Grow Our Own’ program. This allows us to guide colleagues as they progress in their career, as well as providing a direct response to the Engineering skills gap which remains a significant challenge for our industry.
To help address the skills shortage, we’ve recently joined forces with Northumberland Skills and Northumberland County Council to deliver a ‘Building Futures: Welding and Fabrication’ course at their state-of-the-art Port of Blyth training facility, which was recently recognised as award-winning at the North East HR&D Awards in June 2024.

Learning the basics of engineering at a purpose-built facility

Working in collaboration with Northumberland Skills and Northumberland County Council, we’re delivering the ‘Building Futures: Welding and Fabrication’ course to people who are currently unemployed and looking to re-enter the workforce. Delivered at a brand-new, purpose-built facility at the Port of Blyth, the 6-week intensive course teaches learners the fundamentals of MIG and TIG welding, and sheet metal fabrication. The course is funded by Northumberland Skills and delivered by their expert lecturers who have a wealth of industry experience.

Creating employment opportunities for our local community

The course is a great first step on the ladder to re-employment. Learners who successfully complete the course and join Universal Wolf will be supported through their Level 2 City & Guilds qualification with Northumberland Skills, as well as receiving hands-on training and development from our team of experienced metalworkers. They will join Universal Wolf as Sheet Metal Workers in Training with the opportunity to become skilled metal workers.

To date, we have welcomed seven learners to Universal Wolf as full-time colleagues and sheet metal workers in training. They join the 20% of our workforce who has benefitted from an internal development program to progress their career.

What do our new recruits have to say about the program?

We caught up with some of our new starters to see how they found the course and the transition to full-time employment.

“I love it here. It’s the best place I have ever worked, and this is the best thing I’ve ever done. The lads that I’m working with are so supportive and help me whenever I need it.” – Isaac

“I get lots of support from the sheet metal workers I work with. I recently did my first bit of work on my own, but I know there is help when I need it. The first day was quite daunting, but it’s been absolutely fine since.” – Ben

“The sheet metal workers I work alongside are really supportive, my Team Leader has also been really helpful. The transition from Port of Blyth to the working environment has been easy. I’m really enjoying it.” – Connor

trainee welder in safety gear working with a grinder

Universal Wolf welder standing in their offices

Award-winning initiative

It’s fantastic to hear that our new colleagues are enjoying getting to grips with life as sheet metal workers. We were also delighted to win the award for ‘Excellence and Positive Impact’ at the North East HR&D Awards. The award is a fantastic acknowledgement of the work we, alongside Northumberland Skills and Northumberland County Council, are doing to support and give back to our local community.

NE HR&D logo - winner, positive impact

Next course incoming

Watch this space for updates on our next 6-week course, starting September 2024.