Three of a kind now going for coal at opencast mines near Cramlington

(from left) Jake Adkins, Owen Carr, and Max Anderson, along with Drew Barber, who was one of Banks' previous intake of apprentices, and who was named as Northumberland College's student of the year earlier this year.'Jake Adkins from New Hartley, Max Anderson from Red Row and Owen Carr from Ashington have been chosen by Banks Mining to fill apprentice positions at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington.

(from left) Jake Adkins, Owen Carr, and Max Anderson, along with Drew Barber, who was one of Banks' previous intake of apprentices, and who was named as Northumberland College's student of the year earlier this year.'Jake Adkins from New Hartley, Max Anderson from Red Row and Owen Carr from Ashington have been chosen by Banks Mining to fill apprentice positions at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington.

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Three young people are making going for coal their career goal after landing places on the latest apprenticeship programme at Banks Mining’s Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington.

Jake Adkins, of New Hartley, and Owen Carr, of Ashington, have been taken on as apprentices, along with Max Anderson, of Red Row.

The three new recruits will now undertake a three-year training programme leading to qualifications up to NVQ level three.

As well as on-site work, the bespoke apprenticeships include a study programme at Ashington’s Northumberland College.

About 140 workers are employed at the Shotton site, alongside a further 60 at Brenkley Lane, and the two sites are estimated to jointly contribute more than £35m a year to the regional economy through wages, investment and supply chain orders.

John Welsh, plant assets manager at Banks Mining, part of the County Durham-based Banks Group, said: “Giving young people opportunities to make their way in our industry is absolutely vital if the region is going to have a sustainable workforce that’s properly equipped with the practical skills that businesses like ourselves need to operate and compete.

“We invest a lot of time and resources into finding the right candidates to join our apprenticeship programme, and both the calibre and characters of those we’ve been assessing has been very impressive.”

“Jake, Owen and Max are all bright, enthusiastic young men who showed a high degree of mechanical and personal aptitude in the interviews for these positions, and we’re confident that they will be able to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead of them.

“The training and development resource we’ll be offering our new recruits will not only help them gain skills that will serve them well while they’re working with us, but also right through their working lives, and it’s especially pleasing for us to be able to give young people from nearby communities this chance to start building successful careers for themselves.”