New £2.5million Academy Launched

01 July 2016

Our new Connect Academy has opened

Northern Powerhouse Minister, James Wharton has officially opened a new state-of-the-art Skills Academy on North Tyneside which is revolutionising the way young people are trained for industry.


The £2.5m Connect Academy has been developed by industrial training specialist, AIS Training, to give young people aged 16-24 the essential skills, work experience and knowledge needed to begin careers in the global energy, construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The state-of-the-art centre, includes specially designed welding bays, engineering work spaces, scaffolding areas, fully equipped classrooms and chill-out spaces where Connect will offer a raft of industrial training programmes to help young people become ‘work ready’.

These programmes differ from others in the marketplace as they are developed in close consultation with industry and are tailored according to employers’ needs.

As well as up to £3k of industry-approved qualifications or ‘tickets’ in the skills required for the trainee’s chosen career route, the programmes include the basic skills employers need such as work ethic, an understanding of health and safety and a background knowledge of the relevant industry sector.

Trainees are then matched with employers to get real ‘on-the-job’ experience to prepare and inspire them to take those crucial first steps into careers in engineering, manufacturing, construction, oil and gas, nuclear and the wind sector. 

Business and education leaders from across the North East turned out to see Northern Powerhouse Minister, James Wharton, officially open the Connect Academy.

Northern Powerhouse Minister, James Wharton said: “This Government remains committed to rebalancing the economy through creating a Northern Powerhouse – and we must ensure we have a workforce equipped to achieve this goal.

“Boosting skills to meet the needs of the local economy will help increase productivity and leaders and employers in the North have a big role to play in this.

“It is therefore fitting that today I’m opening a brilliant new skills academy to revolutionise the way young people are trained for industry in this country.”

Paul Attrill, director of skills and education at AIS, said: “We are delighted to unveil our new multi-million-pound Connect Academy, which we believe offers something unique to young people looking to move into industry. AIS already trains more than 25,000 people annually in the highest global standards so we are well aware of the skills and competencies employers need. Connect will now bring this extensive expertise to help develop young talent from grass roots level and shape them into the skilled and competent workforce of the future.

“We’re putting employers at the heart of every programme we develop and are listening to what they need: motivated, proactive, enthusiastic workers with the right skills to be productive from day one. Our courses deliver this by instilling a strong work ethic and training youngsters in practical skills much in demand like basic engineering, fabrication and welding so they are prepared and ready for work.

“Undoubtedly this answers industry’s need for new recruits with the right skills and attitude, at the same time as helping young people take those important first steps onto the career ladder.”

"We are delighted to unveil our new multi-million-pound Connect Academy, which we believe offers something unique to young people looking to move into industry."