Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North and member of the Treasury Select Committee, visited Caterpillar Articulated Trucks in Peterlee on Thursday 19th October as part of her Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship exploring forthcoming opportunities and challenges facing local employers.
Caterpillar Peterlee in County Durham was established in the 1970s and the facility has grown to employ over 1,000 people. The workforce is a mix of professional engineers, multiple skilled trades, semi-skilled and unskilled employees with over 95% living within a 20-mile radius of the plant.
Over the past nine years, employees at Caterpillar Peterlee have built upon business improvement techniques including the development of a 45-ton articulated truck can be produced from flat steel plate and reach the shipping gate in less than 10 days. The visit helped Catherine gain insight into how Caterpillar Peterlee is not only a major employer but also how they are recognising the importance of engaging young people and their families within the local community.
During the visit Catherine met with Peter Handley, Managing Director at Caterpillar Peterlee where she was given a tour of the facilities including the Learning Centre of Light; a state-of-the-art educational centre. Caterpillar’s Learning Centre of Light is also open to other organisations within the North East, attracting businesses from across the UK.
Catherine’s Fellowship has helped her to gain an in-depth understanding of the employment issues and opportunities available across her constituency, and also supports her work as Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships.
Commenting on the visit, Catherine said:
‘It was an absolute pleasure to visit Caterpillar in Peterlee. As a major North East employer, the facility is a real testament to the investment that has been made and the talent of the local employees. I would like to thank the IPT and Caterpillar for organising such an insightful visit.’
Phil Handley, Managing Director at Caterpillar Peterlee added:
‘We are very proud of our highly skilled and passionate workforce manufacturing Caterpillar articulated trucks which roll out of Peterlee’s gates and are sold all over the world. We are engaging with young people in and around our community to encourage a greater take up of STEM subjects and a better understanding of the exciting opportunities on offer in engineering and manufacturing roles. Through our advanced apprenticeships schemes and our links with local top-class universities of Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland and Teeside we are building the skills and a future pipeline of talent to meet the needs of tomorrow.’