Growth sparks recruitment drive at Vantec


A Wearside logistics firm has created more than 200 jobs after taking part in a scheme designed to get unemployed people back into work.

Sunderland-based Vantec has taken on around 250 workers across a variety of disciplines following a surge in business. 

Following the opening of its 421,000 sq ft warehouse on the Turbine Business Park in Sunderland, the Hitachi-owned company has secured an influx of business from automotive, engineering and manufacturing firms and now needs extra pairs of hands to service the additional workload.

Vantec teamed up with Gateshead College and recruitment firm MTrec to find jobseekers with previous logistics experience and put them through a rigorous training programme to get them fit for work. The training, delivered through Gateshead College’s Sector-Based Work Academy, gave the jobseekers vital knowledge of the latest lean manufacturing principles and forklift truck operations, as well as top tips on CV writing and interview techniques that would help them gain employment. 

Chris Lamb, head of Vantec’s Logistics Centre of Excellence, said: “We are committed to investing in our workforce to boost productivity and secure the future of our business. Our new recruits will help us to cope with the extra workload as a result of our recent contract wins and allow us to strengthen our hand in the competitive logistics industry.

The Sector-Based Work Academy is a national initiative that is rolled out locally by Jobcentre Plus and regional training providers.

Unemployed learners are referred to the programme by Jobcentre Plus and then embark on training that gives them the skills needed to work in their chosen sector. Many of the workers are then placed into employment at companies such as Vantec, a logistics supplier to the automotive trade and primarily to car maker Nissan.

The back to work scheme led by Gateshead College has so far provided work for almost 300 jobseekers. As well as the positions at Vantec, further jobs have been created atcompanies including Spanish automotive component maker Gestamp, chemical giant BASF, technology firm T I Automotive and medical and safety specialist Dräger.

Zac Aldridge, head of group for advanced manufacturing and logistics at Gateshead College, said: “It’s fantastic that these companies are oiling the wheels of the regional economy by getting unemployed people back into work.

“We were delighted to help by providing the training, which is designed to give workers the right skills and aptitudes that will help them to secure employment.”

In a separate initiative, Gateshead College is also putting Vantec’s 680 permanent employees through additional training programmes that are tailored to the company’s specific business needs. Eligible staff will embark on a 12-month adult apprenticeship in warehousing, which will cover key subjects such as health and safety, customer service, moving and handling of goods, stock keeping and hygiene standards. The Vantec staff will also work towards a qualification in managing the supply chain, which is recognised by the Institute of Supply Chain Management.

The training will run initially until 2016, although it is expected to continue for several years to ensure that all Vantec staff have been trained to a standard that will maintain the company’s position as a leading logistics provider.