21 engineering apprentices kick-start their careers at Merit

Cramlington-based industrialised construction and digital manufacturing specialist, Merit, has welcomed 21 new engineering apprentices to the business as it continues its growth journey.

The next generation of engineers, recruited through Northumberland College and Newcastle-based TDR, join the offsite firm as it recently completed a 44,000ft2 factory expansion at its Cramlington-based factory.

Merit is a leading specialist in the manufactured delivery of high-quality, BREEAM Excellent, zero Scope 1 carbon enabled facilities for the healthcare, biotech, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, EV battery and aerospace sectors.

Merit launched its apprenticeship programme in 2013 to provide young talent with invaluable expertise to enter the industry. To date, Merit has worked closely with nearly 60 local apprentices; all of whom have been offered full-time employment upon completion of their programme. Furthermore, Merit is committed to providing further opportunities for women in construction, with 5 female engineering apprentices joining this year’s cohort of new recruits.

Through day-to-day mentoring and exposure to specialist skills, apprentices will have the opportunity to support across Merit’s projects. Recent high-profile contract wins include Moderna’s new clinical biomarker laboratory as part of the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire, Berwick’s long-awaited £35million community Hospital, and Solihull Hospital’s new state-of-the-art Elective Hub (Operating Theatre Block).

Merit is making a concerted effort to provide enhanced opportunities for females to enter the industry. Alongside its in-depth apprenticeship programme, the business continues to foster close relationships with local schools, colleges and universities to provide exposure to career-progression for women within the company and the wider industry.

April Twentyman, HR Manager at Merit, said: “Merit has been running an incredibly successful apprenticeship programme since 2013, with each individual encouraged to work to the best of their ability and dive into aspects of the programme that interest them most. Apprentices are as much a part of the team as any other employee within the business, and they each play an important role in the company’s continuing growth. Through continuous training, exposure to specialist skills and input from college, apprentices will have the opportunity to travel and support on a working construction site – this is something that will really prepare them for long-term career roles.”

Andrew Thorpe, Business Development Manager at TDR Training, said: “It is brilliant to be asked to support Merit with their intake of engineering apprentices for 2023. It all started earlier this Summer when we met with a young candidate; Mollie Giles where she had expressed a desire to become a welder in Northumberland. I’ve placed several apprentices at Merit over the years, and so I immediately contacted Merit and within a matter of weeks we had secured Mollie a fantastic opportunity. This led to further meetings and factory tours which resulted in Merit providing TDR with the opportunity of securing 11 new engineering apprentices.

We are looking forward to being part of the Merit Apprenticeship Programme; being part of a growing business with real ambition to develop their own talent is something we are really excited about.”

Chris Small, Business Executive at Education Partnership North East, said: “We are proud to be working with Merit to help train their multi-skilled engineering apprentices.

“We believe this will be the start of a long-lasting partnership between our organisations and look forward to welcoming the apprentices to Northumberland College.”

Molly Giles, Welding Apprentice at Merit, said: “I chose an apprenticeship as I felt like I needed a good qualification, and this was the right option for me. After lots of research, TDR highly recommended Merit as a good apprenticeship provider. Upon my visit at Merit, I found the team both informative and friendly. As a hands-on person, I’m looking forward to the physicality of the apprenticeship, learning new skills and getting to work in the Factory environment.”

Katie Priest, Multi-skilled Engineering Apprentice at Merit, said: “Merit is the future. Those were the four words that made me realise that Merit was the company for me. I have always been enthralled by how things work and are made, and due to my Multi-skilled apprenticeship, Merit has enabled me to do just that: learn.

My apprenticeship with Merit enables me to learn in a practical manner and offers an exciting introduction to the workforce. Not only am I building a career with Merit, but I am also building on myself as an individual.”