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First step on the career ladder

Liam Besford

Local graduate Liam Besford opts for a procurement apprenticeship with Banks Mining

A YOUNG Bedlington graduate has taken his first step on the career ladder after becoming Banks Mining’s latest Northumberland apprentice.

Liam Besford had begun a two-year apprenticeship with the plant support team at Shotton surface coal mine, near Cramlington, which will see him combining extensive practical on-the-job training with online learning modules provided by Northumberland College.

Liam graduated from Sheffield University last year with a degree in Accountancy & Finance, and as part of his apprenticeship is now working towards an NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration.

He is working as part of the team that is responsible for ensuring the equipment, materials and spare parts required to support the safe, efficient and responsible operation of the Shotton site are delivered when and where they are needed.

The role requires Liam to work with a range of suppliers, both across the local area and further afield, and to help ensure that an annual site budget for parts, servicing and plant hire of around £9 million is managed as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Liam is the fifth apprentice to be currently working at the Shotton site, with many of their predecessors having gone on to take permanent positions with the family-owned firm. Five apprentices are also currently working at Banks Mining’s Bradley surface mine in Co. Durham.

Liam Besford said: ‘I heard about the apprenticeship through Northumberland College, and after doing some research into the company, felt like Banks Mining would be somewhere that suited my skills and career ambitions.

‘Taking my first look at the Shotton site was amazing – the investment that’s made in plant equipment here is massive and it’s really impressive to see everything running so smoothly. Every day is different, with the items we need to bring into the site ranging from nuts, bolts and teabags right up to hugely complex engines and machine parts.

‘The plant support team and the guys out on site are all being really supportive, and I’m picking up a lot of useful technical knowledge alongside experience of our procurement and asset-management systems and processes.’

Keith Tarn, group human resources manager at The Banks Group, said: ‘Providing opportunities for talented local young people clearly benefits both employers and their new employees, and we’ve seen at first hand the positive impact that apprentices can bring to businesses like ours.

‘We’re committed to providing a range of tangible benefits to the communities surrounding all our operational sites, and Liam is the latest in a long line of local young people who have been able to start developing their careers at our North East surface mine sites.’

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