Still work in those heavy industries

16th January 2004 at 00:00
A key task facing Chris Roberts will be to dispel the myth that the traditional heavy industries in the region provide no long-term job prospects for young people.

Shipbuilding and heavy engineering in the marine and offshore sectors are rapidly changing the nature of the type of employment they offer, he insists.

"These heavy industries no longer employ large numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled labour that does little more than lug rivets about," he says.

"They employ fewer people, but now their workforce is largely highly skilled. A lot of the work they have is in very technical engineering and design, where workers develop skills that are easily transferable to other industries.

"Apart from the welders, platers, joiners, pipe-fitters and electricians that are needed, there are also shortages in the white collar jobs that go with it.

"Designers, planners, and logistics experts are needed to enable contracts to be delivered on time to avoid the huge penalties that would otherwise be faced.

"There is no doubt that heavy industry still has an important role to play in the North-east."

More than half of the employers in the region report skills gaps across all occupations, and the age profile of employers in heavy industry is high, with over-55s vastly outnumbering under-25s, he says.

Most employment opportunities in the region are in occupations requiring a relatively high level of expertise, and less than 6 per cent of the workforce is in unskilled employment.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today