It is 40 years since Dave Thompson started his career as a fresh faced apprentice of just 16.
Little did he know then that he would go on to assist and inspire countless others starting out in their trade.
Driven by his own experiences, he has become a true advocate for apprenticeships.
And now it seems only fitting that on this, his 40-year career milestone, that Dave has been shortlisted for the National Apprenticeship Awards’ Apprenticeship Champion of the Year for the North-east.
Off to a glittering award ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead next week (Tuesday 18th Sept), he said: “Getting out there and promoting apprenticeships just seems to be something that I have done since being an apprentice myself, not just linked to my work but generally.”
Proud of his own background as an indentured instrumentation and control apprentice in the steel industry, it seems the experience set him in good stead, going on to work in a variety of roles and progressing through the ranks.
These days he is the strategic business development co-ordinator at NETA Training, where again he continues to shout about the value of apprenticeships.
He said: “From my experience I know that it is a great way to start a career. It is a great foundation block for anyone wanting to progress.”
Quick to point out that an apprenticeship doesn’t have to mean doing the same thing for the rest of your life, he explained: “I moved into management and got a degree when I was a bit older – the first member of my family to get a degree.”
All the time he has seen it as a part of his role to pass on his knowledge, experience and support to apprentices.
He said: “Throughout my career I have been fortunate that I could voice the values of an apprenticeship including liaising with schools, employers, local authorities, funding agencies and the local Tees Valley learning provider network.
“I have always enjoyed the challenges of promoting apprenticeships through education, learning and engaging with young people. In my role at NETA Training apprenticeships are a key to securing the long term strategy of the business.
“It is with this in mind we are engaging with schools and developing innovative programmes and visits to promote emerging sectors in the region.”
Delighted to see Dave shortlisted as a National Apprenticeships Awards 2018 regional finalist, NETA Training’s managing director Phil Blewitt said: “Dave has worked tirelessly in the development and delivery of high quality engineering apprenticeship training for young people and adults in the North-east region.
“The impact this has made in sustaining a pipeline of young talent to help shape and drive the regional economy should not be underestimated.”