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Tata Steel will employ 22 young workers at Teesside, Skinningrove and Hartlepool sites
A NORTH-EAST steelmaker who previously warned it could cut costs to ease £7bn debts has revealed it is taking on 22 apprentices.
Tata Steel, which employs more than 1,500 workers in the region, will base the young workers at three plants in the region and put them through a three-year training programme.
The move, announced at the start of National Apprentice Week, comes after the firm denied claims from an industry analyst that it was looking to sell its Corus arm, and Ratan Tata, the company's chairman, warned its European operation would be under greater stress due to rising iron ore and coking coal prices.
The apprenticeship plan will see eight workers based at Teesside, eight at Skinningrove, east Cleveland, and six at Hartlepool, and is part of Tata's wider plans to take on 122 apprentices across its UK plants.
The company already has about 500 workers on apprenticeship schemes across the UK, and the North-East youngsters will study mechanical and electrical engineering or chemistry and metallurgy, working towards NVQ qualifications.
Applications are open until Sunday, March 17, with successful apprentices starting work in September.
Tor Farquhar, Tata Steel HR Director, said: “The steel industry is facing a challenging time, but we are continuing to invest in skills for the future and our apprentice programmes are central to our future success.
“The successful candidates can look forward to achieving essential qualifications and contributing to an international company which manufactures world-class steel.”
Last month, the firm, which also has sites at Redcar, Darlington and Middlesbrough, dismissed rumours from Abhijeet Naik, a senior investment analysts from global brokerage firm CLSA, that it would have to see either part or all of its Corus arm to reduce debt.
Tata, which is the world's 12th largest steelmaker, said the report was based on speculative and unsubstantiated information.
It has invested about £13m in its North-East sites and employs about 81,600 people in 26 countries.
Last year, it won more than £100m-worth of orders to make oil and gas pipes for projects in the Gulf of Mexico, but revealed it was cutting 900 jobs in the UK, including about 600 posts at plants in south Wales.