THE next generation of engineers are at the cutting-edge – thanks to a deal signed between Basingstoke College of Technology and Gillette.

The shaving products brand, which is part of global giant P&G, is working in partnership with the further education college, in Worting Road, to sponsor all of its full-time Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) courses, with a view to taking students on to apprenticeship programmes on completion of their course.

Gillette, which has an R&D centre in Reading, is a long-standing provider of apprenticeships, and supports and invests in grassroot engineering.

The deal with BCoT is being seen as an investment in the future development of engineering at the college and it will allow students to develop their skill base and gain qualifications up to HNC and HND and on to degree level.

BCoT head of engineering Christian Clifford-Jones said the scheme is aimed at entry-level students who wish to pursue a career in engineering, and is a move away from the traditional post-graduate selection process that many companies adopt.

He said: “Gillette is a fantastic supporter of apprenticeships in the community. They work hand-in-hand with us at BCoT to provide an outstanding apprenticeship framework for both the technical certificate and NVQ programmes.

“Recently, engineering and manufacturing companies have struggled to recruit qualified, skilled engineers because of the skills shortage.

“This sponsorship recognises the need to train and develop the next generation of engineers. At the end of their training, the apprentices will be fully qualified engineers with highly successful and well-paid careers ahead of them.”

Gregor Meissner, section head, of the Concept Prototyping Group (CPG), at Gillette said: “Putting the apprenticeship scheme in place is an investment in the future development of engineering.

“It is fulfilling our need for skilled engineers but also gives young people a chance to gain a skill whilst getting paid and no university debt at the end.

“The apprentices gain a wealth of knowledge and skills from their technical mentors and this is vital not only to us but for the country and this company.

“We have found the BCoT apprenticeship team to be brilliant. They are supportive of both us and our apprentices, professional and approachable. We find that nothing is too much for them, and they keep in regular contact with them.”