A ENGINEERING firm has launched talent development programme to support its national growth strategy in UK bridge building.

The Darlington-based structural steel engineering company Cleveland Bridge has launched a long-term programme for engineering teams keep ahead of industry knowledge and skills demands.

The launch comes as the firms sees continued year-on-year growth in activity.

Cleveland Bridge’s ongoing commitment to a sustainable workforce is also supported by its membership of the 5% Club, which is made up of more than 250 companies across the country who pledge that five percent of their workforce will comprise of apprentices and graduates within a five-year period.

The talent development programme aims to develop the next generation of engineers and leaders through training events, documented development plans and programmes for apprentices and graduates.

For example, employees are encouraged to discuss career goals and ambitions with managers, who develop plans to help employees reach their full potential while increasing employee capability, engagement and retention.

The company, which already focuses on promoting from within, has so far signed up 47 employees to talent or development programmes.

It has also launched a specific programme for shop-floor operators to develop charge hands, supervisors and managers who will support future business growth.

Several of the Cleveland Bridge UK’s apprentices have been promoted already, with each of them having passed their Functional Skills Level 2 English and maths exams as well as other training.

Matty Foster, from Newton Aycliffe, joined Cleveland Bridge as an apprentice plater in 2012 and now leads a team of more than 50 staff members as a fabrication supervisor.

The 26-year-old successfully completed his apprenticeship in 2016 and was promoted to charge hand.

Within the three years, Mr Foster completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship in team leading and a supervision qualification with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), through training provider B-Skill.

Thomas Hill, 21 Ingleby Barwick, joined the company in 2015 as an apprentice draughtsperson.

The 21-year-old subsequently secured a position as a draftsman before being promoted to his current role of trainee project manager.

Mr Hill completed an HNC in Civil Engineering, sponsored by Cleveland Bridge, and is now doing a Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship Level 6 through Teesside University.

Chris Droogan, managing director of the firm, said “Skill development and career advancement are essential for all our employees. In order for the right talent to be attracted and retained, we must demonstrate that we offer a career path that provides the opportunities necessary for progression.

“Through our talent programme, we provide the tools for employees to advance their skills, competencies, and overall careers. Having the right talent and expertise drives competitive advantage to maintain our global reputation and position at the forefront of our industry.”