AN organisation which trains engineering apprentices in Malton is celebrating its 30th birthday this year.

Derwent Training Association (DTA) was founded in 1988. It has been training young people on apprenticeship programmes ever since.

DTA works with local firms to train young people from Ryedale, York and the Yorkshire coast in mechanical, electrical, design and manufacture skills.

Its intake primarily comprises students who have just completed GCSEs or A-levels, and it is forward thinking: consistently more than 10 per cent of its engineering apprentices are female and it’s strongly supportive of the Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) drive within the UK.

The organisation’s story is one of growth and development. Over 30 years it has trained 650 apprentices, with a large percentage staying to work in the local area and setting up their own businesses.

Bob Watmore, training and assessment manager, said: “We are very proud of the position that we have developed as the region’s premier provider of technical apprenticeships for engineering and manufacturing.

“We value all of those who have contributed over the 30 years. We have great plans to not only celebrate this year, but continue our expansion supporting the demand from employers across the region and providing the entry point to fantastic careers for the apprentices.

“It’s a special time for us to be celebrating this in 2018 with the focus nationally as the Year of Engineering.”

Its current modern home on the outskirts of Malton, with its industry-level equipment for everything from welding to electronics, was opened in 2001 by patron Lord Derwent of Hackness.

In 2007 there was an extension built, and in 2015, Lord Derwent was on site again to officially open a new £150,000 mechatronics workshop. That same year, DTA introduced the higher apprenticeship programme. Recently it’s seen a huge number of successes. In the last five years it has had eight apprentices win regional and national apprenticeship awards. And last year, nine apprentices reached the national finals of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge.

The trainer also hosts its own annual awards, celebrating the success of all apprentices on the centre’s engineering programmes, with last year’s event paying hommage to 35 graduates completing their apprenticeships with local employers across Ryedale, York and the Yorkshire Coast.

DTA also presents a variety of awards on the evening, included the Lord Derwent Award for effort and achievement, apprentice of the year and highly-commended in electrical/maintenance, mechanical, fabrication and welding, final year NVQ and higher apprenticeship to reward those apprentices that have been outstanding.

Last year’s employer of the year was won by ISF, York, as well as mentor of the year being won by Dan Hall, of UAD Engineering, in Scarborough.

Speaking about the awards, John Brockett, who is the general manager of Derwent Training Association, said: “Those young ladies and gentlemen who have graduated are starting on a career pathway which could take them anywhere in the world, earning well above the average wage.”

Richard Shaw, DTA chairman and managing director of Rillington-based engineering firm Ellis Patents, which trains its apprentices at DTA, said: “The things that set them apart are that the trainers are not teachers - they have practical, real world experience and work hard to tailor their delivery to suit every individual apprentice’s needs.

“To them it is a vocation, not a job. This is what sets us apart from the rest, not a glitzy building or a room full of Macs.

“The remarkable achievements DTA deliver is something we have been proud of from the past 30 years. DTA is unique to North Yorkshire and a gem to be cherished.”

As it hits 30, DTA is trying to build an alumni of past apprentices to see where they have progressed to. Email details to

DTA will be holding an open evening on Tuesday, March 6, from 4pm to 7pm.