SWDT staff, students, former apprentices and invited guests have celebrated 50 years of engineering success at an event at the site which included a number of guest speakers and an awards ceremony for current students.

The event was hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern, who recalled her time working in the North East at Black & Decker before she found fame as a reporter. She recounted many fond memories of her training and time working in the industry- with some of her former bosses and coworkers even present in the audience. Other guest speakers included David Land, chairman of the County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network, and David Allison, a former apprentice who became an instructor and eventually works manager at SWDT between 1973 and 2013.

The event concluded with awards for current apprentices to celebrate their hard work. These awards were sponsored by Bishop Auckland College, Nifco, Ebac, Mechtool, Stanley Black & Decker, Lorimer Electrical and Cummins. Representatives from each of the companies proudly presented the awards to the hardworking students.

SWDT was founded in 1967 to provide training for local manufacturing and engineering companies predominantly around the Newton Aycliffe and Darlington areas. Over the last 50 years it has becoming a leading provider of top quality training in the North East, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Teeside and beyond. It was rated Ofsted 'Outstanding' in July 2014.

The celebrations will continue with a reunion event for former apprentices on Tuesday. Meanwhile, staff and students are already working hard to ensure the next 50 years are equally successful.

List of award winners:

  • Apprentice of the Year- Neil Anderson
  • Learner of the Year (Mechanical)- Louis Donlan
  • Learner of the Year (Machining)- Luke Evans
  • Learner of the Year (BTEC)- Danika Gilpin
  • Learner of the Year (Fab & Weld)- Kien Hurst
  • Learner of the Year (Electrical)- Chloe Little
  • Learner of the Year (HNC)- Alex Park
  • Best effort of the Year- Josh King
  • Outstanding Achievement- Chloe Reeves

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