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HETA plans further expansion after record recruitment of young engineers

Iain Elliott, Chief Executive of HETA, and Joanne Lawson, the Deputy Chief Executive, outside the company’s headquarters in Hull.

A training business which has been supplying engineering apprentices to industry for more than 50 years has broken all records with its 2021 intake.

Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) is now planning a significant investment programme as it faces rising demand from employers across the north for qualified young people and for tuition to upskill the existing workforce.

The company will soon announce details of a major expansion which will create more places for learners, with more than 800 applying for the 200 places recently filled. 

HETA is also planning to add to its board of trustees, with applications invited from people in business who can bolster the board’s skills in finance and accounting.

Iain Elliott, Chief Executive of HETA, said: “This has been a record-breaking year with unprecedented numbers of applications for apprenticeship and traineeship places.

“That resulted in nearly 200 young men and women commencing on programme, including over 130 apprentices beginning their training in August. The demand from employers is unparalleled and is welcome evidence that they have seen the very real benefit of recruiting apprentices as part of their succession planning strategies.”

HETA was formed in Hull in 1967 by 10 companies. As a charity which continues to be employer-led, it expanded to open a second training centre near Grimsby and then a third in Scunthorpe.

The Hull headquarters relocated to purpose-built premises at Sutton Fields Industrial Estate in 1978 and again in 2018 after the company invested around £4.5m in acquiring a site in Dansom Lane and building a state-of-the-art centre to offer traineeships as well as apprenticeships in mechanical and electrical engineering and fabrication and welding.

Joanne Lawson, Deputy Chief Executive, will lead the new project. She said: “The investment which we have committed since moving into our Hull site shows that HETA will not sit on our laurels.

“Further investment has brought the addition of high voltage training courses and a process plant which became the only facility of its kind available on the north bank of the Humber when it was shipped from Australia in 2020. We expect to be able to announce details soon of another transformational project which will enable us to build our capacity to deliver high-quality vocational learning.”

Iain added: “We work with more than 350 employers and will ensure that, despite the impact of Brexit and Covid, they have a wider talent pool of individuals with the skills required to support the sector with effective and timely succession planning.

“The support of our board of trustees is essential and we are looking now to recruit one more person with the additional financial and accounting skills we need. We want to hear from people who may be working in in a finance function in an engineering or manufacturing company or for an accountancy, audit or professional services firms in the area – and who is keen to help our management team improve what we can offer learners and employers.”

Iain also urged school leavers to focus on their studies as competition intensifies for places at HETA.

He said: “We received over 850 applications for this year’s cohort and even though we recruited a record number of just under 200 that gives people only a one-in-four chance of being successful.

“Recruitment for next September starts in October and, as a specialist provider, we know places will once again be very much sought after and in great demand. We will again be looking for the very best talent in the region and GCSE results will be critical in our selection policy for this coming year. 

“I would encourage anyone considering applying to HETA to look out for the opening of recruitment in October and to work hard over the next year to ensure you achieve the very best grades you can.”

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Trustee should contact Iain Elliott via the HETA website at to have an informal discussion about the role.

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