College and offshore group link in unique pre-apprenticeship course

3Sun apprentice Elliott Reade at work in their Great Yarmouth base.Picture: James Bass

3Sun apprentice Elliott Reade at work in their Great Yarmouth base.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Offshore firm 3sun Group has partnered with Great Yarmouth College to launch a pioneering pre-apprenticeship course tailored to the company’s needs as it continues its growth.

The initiative will see a former start-up hub at the Suffolk Road college converted into a new engineering centre with a branding incorporating the 3sun Group logo.

The company, based in Boundary Road, Yarmouth, will be sponsoring each year’s intake - the first in September - in recognition of an industry skills shortage that could become a barrier to its expansion if left unremedied.

3sun CEO Graham Hacon officially launched the partnership, believed to be the first of its kind in the sector, in the week the group is set to announce a near 50pc rise in turnover from £21m to around £30m.

Since starting the business in 2007 in a one-man office at Beacon Park Innovation Centre, Mr Hacon has grown it into one that employs 330.

Nearly 100 employees have been taken on in the past 12 months with the same number predicted to join in the next year - a level of expansion that has led to 3sun being ranked in the Sunday Times’ Fast Track 100 featuring the UK’s fastest growing firms.

Youngsters successfully completing the two-year pre-apprenticeship course will be offered a one of two-year apprenticeship with 3sun as an electrical, mechanical or instrumentation technician.

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3sun’s apprentices co-ordinator Colin Drewitt said the academic skills taught on the course would be tailored to the company’s needs working across the oil, gas and renewables industries.

Mr Hacon said the course would run 40 hours a week, compared to the normal 20 to 30, as another way to get students ready for the world of work. The half-term sessions working at 3sun would give students a valuable insight into what direction they wanted to take as a trade.

Yarmouth College principal Stuart Rimmer said: “It is an innovative approach to learning which links a great company and a great college. The unique blend of academic and practical development based around real work experience will create the ideal package and ensure it’s what the employer really wants.”