A global automotive manufacturer has proved its commitment to investing in young talent after awarding two of its apprentices permanent contracts.

Ryan Barrow and Jack Mills started their apprenticeships with ZF Peterlee in November 2015.

The young lads were the company’s first cohort of young people recruited as part of the relaunch of its succession planning programme.

Over the last three years Ryan and Jack have been learning their trade within the engineering and maintenance departments respectively and completed the educational side of their apprenticeships at Gateshead College.

Carolyn Bird from the HR team has worked with Ryan and Jack, offering them support during their three-year learning course.

She said: “During their time as apprentices both Ryan and Jack really impressed, in terms of their commitment and enthusiasm to the job and their willingness to learn and study academically.

“Our apprenticeship programme is a key part of our growth and succession planning and our intention is to always recruit young people who we believe have a long-term future at ZF Peterlee.

“Ryan and Jack certainly fit the bill and I think everyone who worked closely with them was in agreement that they had earned permanent contracts – each has real potential to continue to grow.”


ZF employs around 1,000 people at its North West Industrial Estate facility and is now a global leader in the production of specialist safety camera equipment. It is part of a group which is the world’s third largest automotive manufacturer, with 136,000 people employs at sites internationally.

Ryan said: “I am over the moon to have been awarded a permanent contract. When I was taken on as an apprentice I was determined to prove myself and that’s exactly what I’ve done.”

Jack added: “I’ve worked so hard to take advantage of this opportunity so I’m so happy that at the end of my apprenticeship I’ve earned a permanent contract.”

Both Ryan and Jack are shortly starting an HNC in engineering at Sunderland College.