Could you tell us a bit about your company?

Smulders Group is an international steel construction company specialising in engineering, construction, supply and assembly of heavy technical complex and architectonic steel constructions.

We have more than 1,000 employees working across our five production facilities in Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The UK production facility – Smulders Projects UK – is based just outside Newcastle upon Tyne (Wallsend) – and is used to produce the largest steel structures within the Group. More specifically, structures for projects within the renewable energy market. We have more than 500 employees here including nine apprentices, and we’re looking to take more apprentices on in other areas including welding and fabrication.

Why did you choose to hire apprentices through Newcastle College?

Newcastle College has a proven track record in delivering apprentices for numerous companies in different sectors. We were convinced that Newcastle College would be a trusted partner and could help us achieve our goal of finding suitable apprentices.

How have your apprentices from Newcastle College benefitted your business?

We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to grow skills within a business. By employing young talent, we can retain the skills needed for the future.

What advice would you give to a business considering hiring an apprentice?


  • Understand your needs: clearly define the skills and roles your business needs, this will help to tailor the training program accordingly.
  • Establish a structured program: develop a well-structured apprenticeship program that includes a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Clearly outline the learning objectives, milestones and evaluation criteria.
  • Assign a mentor/buddy: Pair apprentices with experienced mentors within your organization. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and share valuable insights, enhancing the learning experience for apprentices.

Why Would you recommend Newcastle College apprenticeships to other employers?

The team is always ready to help and provide support where needed. We’re looking forward to expanding our apprenticeship offer with the college.