Fifteen newly qualified apprentices from Siemens have been presented with certificates to mark the successful completion of their apprenticeship at Tyne Metropolitan College, Siemens chosen partner for the programme. Richard Hogarth was also named Apprenticeship of the Year and received the prestigious Munstermann Cup and David Mullen received the Stephen Kirkup Award for Best Improver.

The apprenticeship scheme was launched in 2005 and is currently training 53 Siemens Energy Service apprentices, including the latest intake of 14 new apprentices who began their training in September. Four full-time trainers and one full-time assessor deliver the NVQ2 and NVQ3 engineering training within the Siemens Energy Service Training Centre. Siemens' Joanne Dixon co-ordinates the apprenticeship programme, supported by fellow training manager Eddie Patterson.

Carl Ennis, managing director for Siemens Energy Service UK, who handed out the awards said: "The awards are a testimony to the high quality training, organisation and support provided by Joanne, Eddie and all the staff directly involved in the apprenticeship training programme at Siemens and Tyne Metropolitan. Developing the engineers of the future through practical apprenticeships in partnership with local colleges is a key focus of our skills and training. The partnership with Tyne Metropolitan is producing first rate apprentices"

Siemens signed a partnership agreement with Tyne Metropolitan this year to support the College in its efforts to encourage more young people into engineering. The apprenticeship programme combines structured on-the-job training with technical instruction during which apprentices gain practical experience in areas such as machining, fitting and winding. Bespoke technical courses have also been designed specifically for Siemens' apprentices and are delivered by partner college, Tyne Metropolitan.

Jon Vincent, principal Tyne Metropolitan, commenting on the success of the apprentices and the relationship with Siemens said: "We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Siemens by helping to recognise the success of the apprentices who are here today to receive their awards. This College is passionate about engineering and the exciting career opportunities it can offer young people, especially with internationally renowned companies such as Siemens."

Last year 360 young people applied to join the apprenticeship programme, which has now been extended to four years in order to give the apprentices more in-depth training in key areas. Of the apprentices who begin the programme, 96% complete it compared with a national average of 68%.