A new engineering and manufacturing Industry Lead has been appointed by Education Partnership North East to support Northumberland College further develop its engineering and manufacturing technical curriculum.

One of its sector specialisms, the college group intends for Northumberland College to play a leading role in the industry’s future within this important North East LEP skills priority area.

Jeff Bower will take up the role of Engineering and Manufacturing Industry Lead and will use his considerable experience in engineering and education to work in collaboration with key stakeholders and employers.

Specifically, he will support the leadership of Northumberland College’s engineering and advanced manufacturing technical curriculum and its interface with industry.

On his appointment, Jeff said: “The role is an exciting new position and will involve building strong links between employers and industry leaders to ensure there is cohesion and collaboration within our further and higher education provision, and so we can meet the region’s current and future needs of the engineering and manufacturing industries.”

“Northumberland in particular has a long-standing industrial heritage and with recent announcements by British Vault, exciting developments in the offshore renewable energy industries and our Northumberland College Chair being Head of AkzoNobel in Ashington, I am really looking forward to getting started”.

Jeff has more than 40 years’ experience of working in engineering and education, and is dual qualified in engineering and education.

He was first inspired by working with skilled craftsmen in his first job as an apprentice toolmaker in Peterlee who shared their knowledge, techniques and values.

As an outcome, Jeff has always understood the importance of a vocational approach to learning while studying within education.

After 27 years in industry, Jeff took up a lecturing role at Derwentside College where he was a member of the Derwentside Engineering Forum, a forward-thinking and innovative organisation which worked alongside employers and local schools to introduce a range of initiatives to develop the engineering workforce in County Durham.

Later he held leadership roles at New College Durham and Sunderland College.

Jeff added: “Working in education allowed me the opportunity to give something back to the engineering and manufacturing sector which has provided me with a brilliant career within industry and continued development throughout my career.

“One of the most rewarding aspects for me is to hear of the continued success of students in a range of roles with engineering and manufacturing related organisations.

“The further education sector is crucial to the development of our future workforce.”

Nigel Harrett, Principal Northumberland College added: “Over the last couple of years Northumberland College has been going from strength to strength.

“Jeff’s appointment will ensure we have an engineer at the forefront of our engagement with industry and that our technical engineering and manufacturing curriculum is always aligned to economic and industry need.”

Ellen Thinnesen, Education Partnership North East Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted Jeff decided to apply for this new role, a first of its kind for Education Partnership North East.

“Over the coming years we will be further investing in our Ashington Campus which means the future is bright for Northumberland College and its strategic contribution to people, productivity and place.”