Tees Valley: Houchen helps those that help themselves

The shortage of HGV drivers continues to dominate the headlines, with Boris Johnson telling the world that the whole point of Brexit was to do away with the low-wage/high-immigration economy that we are living with and instead to train British workers to do higher skilled jobs, thus creating a high-wage/low-immigration economy. Time to look at adult education in the Tees Valley, then, to see how that vision is shaping up in this region.

Of course, although it is HGV drivers that are making the news, the skills shortage applies across a number of sectors, and in this region the task of upskilling the workforce falls to the Tees Valley Authority. Upskilling the workforce here is no minor task. The statistics are grim:

So, the demands on the adult education budget are considerable. This year the budget allocation from the Department for Education is in excess of £31 million. And still the region’s training providers regularly demand more than is available.

But who exactly are the providers?  Unfortunately, while this information is contained in appendix 2 of the above report, that and other appendices have not been published:

But just when we thought our investigation had come to a dead end, we found a news item on the TVCA website, albeit from 2019.

Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen commented,

“For decades, some companies took the easy way out and brought in cheap labour to fill demand. Now we have control over post-19 education, we will start investing in home-grown talent by re-training local people to fill our skills gap.

“For the first time ever, we will absolutely make sure that local people are properly trained to fill the jobs being created today and into the future.”

“It was great to head to DTN and meet the staff and trainees who this will directly benefit. When we have proved this new model delivers for businesses and residents, I’ll be pushing for more education powers so we can go even further to make our system the best it can be.”

Although, we should point out that DTN Academy (or, Digital Telecomms Network Training Academy, to give it its full name) had already been around for some time, having been incorporated in 2000, and known previously as Cablecom Training Ltd. It is also interesting to see that the CEO of Map Group UK, Mike Carlin, attended this event. Of course, this is precisely the work in which that company specialises.

We then had a look of the personalities behind DTN Academy. We find that it has one current director, Roy Fraser, and is owned by a holding company DTNAH Ltd:

And when we looked at who owns DTNAH Limited, it turns out that it was someone familiar:

So, it appears that for 19 years that DTN Academy/Cablecom Training had been the in-house training provider for Map Group UK. Then the TVCA set up a new way of doing things and now appears not only to be paying for training people who will then work for Map Group, but also paying one of their subsidiaries for providing it. This is a very good outcome for the company, and it is no doubt grateful to the TVCA and Ben Houchen for this. The company later expressed its gratitude:

Read more by Scott Hunter

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