Catalyst for Change: Meet our North East Engagement Team

Written on: 15 October 2020

Written by: Frances Hardcastle


[Employers, North East]

We’re so excited to introduce our North East Employer Engagement Team. This dedicated team brings together over 21 years of combined expertise in apprenticeships, channelling this knowledge directly into the North East digital tech sector.

Alice, Craig, Lee and Scott are based in our new Baltic hub locations at the centre of Middlesbrough and Newcastle, and will soon be let loose at a (virtual) tech event near you!

In these newly created roles, our Employer Engagement Managers will act as a single point of contact for all things apprenticeships in their local area, and they’re ready to listen to your thoughts and challenges when it comes to skills, training and development.

As Alice Wanless explains from her base in Boho 5, Middlesbrough: “I’m here to guide employers on apprenticeships, showing how they can be used to create a skilled workforce and bridge the skills gap in the area. A key element of my role is to build relationships with companies across the region and develop opportunities for young people, helping them kickstart their career!”

Our North East Mission

The North East digital tech sector is unique. It deserves an approach to skills development that accounts for the individual challenges and opportunities that businesses in our region experience.

“The North East’s tech sector is now on the map due to the hard work that businesses have done over the last decade,” says Scott Urwin. “It’s getting stronger, but if we don’t invest in digital skills we will hit crisis point. Upskilling, retraining, and investing in young people is an absolute must if we’re to move forward and continue to grow.”

The skills gap in the North East is a long-acknowledged issue within the digital industries. Before Coronavirus, our region reported a skills gap above the national average alongside the highest levels of youth unemployment in England. Apprenticeships have a huge role to play, directly addressing skills issues whilst bringing promising young people into the industry.

Related Blog: The North East's Collaborative Culture has an Essential Role to Play in the Economic Recovery from Coronavirus

Our team will be embedded within the heart of these regional tech hubs, where they will work to build up their encyclopaedic knowledge of digital businesses in their locality, creating exciting opportunities for young people, and becoming trusted skills advisers in their community.

The team has a wealth of experience, and is set up to assist businesses of all shapes and sizes. As Lee Stanford explains, “we can help start-ups find and utilise available apprenticeship funding, and for large businesses we can help ensure their levy funds are being used to add genuine value to their organisation.”

Get in Touch

The team is headed up by Scott Urwin, Regional Employer Engagement Manager. Scott will be based primarily in The Catalyst, Newcastle Helix.

Craig Grimes covers Newcastle alongside Lee Stanford, who is also responsible for Durham.

Alice Wanless is here to represent Teesside, based in the centre of Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone.

“Giving businesses the confidence to succeed with apprenticeships is a big part of what we offer at Baltic,” says Craig. “I’ll always help in any way possible, or point in the direction of someone who can!”

Team North East also has a presence in our Newton Aycliffe Office. Business Consultants Patrick Brown, Tom Harrison and Beth Liddle offer essential support in reaching new businesses across the region. Laura Steward is our Levy specialist for the North East. Finally, recruitment consultants Ben Hogg and Lauren Morton are hard at work sourcing the very best apprenticeship talent the region has to offer.

So what are you waiting for? Give them a call!

For more information (including their predictions on the future of tech, their go-to Karaoke tunes and contact details), check out their team profiles!

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Written on: 13th January 2021

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