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Engineers with design on talent of the young; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.

CONTRACT Design, a multi-discipline engineering design house and part of the CD Group of companies, has just completed the recruitment of its thirtieth engineering design trainee over the last six years.

The company, which works across the subsea, offshore and manufacturing sectors, recognised the need to recruit a new and much younger group of engineers to help address the problem of an ageing workforce.

The company employs a team of over 150 highly skilled and qualified engineers and draughtsmen trained in the traditional industries of shipbuilding, mining and heavy engineering.

The downturn in these traditional industries locally over the last few years has meant a stagnation of the traditional labour pool supply.

"Six years ago we reviewed the profile of our ageing workforce and the conclusions we reached were that we needed to conduct a radical overhaul of our recruitment policy," said operations director, Huw Guariento. "We realised that we needed to devise a strategy to allow us to recruit a new cohort of younger engineers who would enable the company to thrive and to adapt to the new markets in which we are becoming involved."

Initially working with local universities, CD were able to bring in a group of fresh, newly qualified graduate engineers and offer them the opportunity to work on both live and legacy engineering projects based in their own engineering offices.

They have been able to offer practical, work-based experience which could never be achieved sitting in a lecture theatre. The engineers were then placed on assignments with other local subsea engineering companies, such as Soil Machine Dynamics, IHC Engineering Business, Pipe Coil Technology and Moffat 2000 to further broaden their skills.

This process could not have taken place without the support of these very successful partner companies.

More recently, CD has participated in the Tyne Metropolitan College initiative The Phoenix Project, which attracts young engineers who do not have university level education qualifications but have a passion for engineering and are looking for that first opportunity.

The initial recruits from over six years ago have now become highly skilled and experienced engineers, solving complex engineering problems in the design of fabrications such as subsea intervention equipment, ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), trenching machines, subsea umbilical reeling machines and complex manufacturing equipment.

Contract Design technical manager Mel Howard commented: "We have continued to recruit every year for the last six years and 2011 will be no different as we anticipate recruiting an additional 10 young engineers. Who knows, some of our initial recruits will soon be training and employing our latest batch of young, well-qualified and highly motivated engineers."

CD Group is now the sixth largest engineering company of its kind in the UK and is looking to build upon the success of its 23 years' experience. With a head office in the centre of Newcastle and a recently opened branch office in North Yorkshire, plans are now being made to expand into overseas locations with a new office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This is a collaboration with a young, local Brazilian design engineering organisation which is keen to become involved with a European company that can bring a wealth of experience in the North Sea offshore oil and gas sector to the emerging market in Brazil.

Brazil is the UK's most important trading partner in Latin America and Rio is home to the dominant oil and gas industry in the country.

"Brazil has huge oil reserves and significant new discoveries have been made recently off the coast," said CD group managing director Peter Douglass.

He added: "With the depth of knowledge and experience we have built up in the North Sea, we are well placed to provide engineering support to this expanding industry in Brazil using UK capabilities and technologies that have been developed and applied successfully in this sector for many years."

Brazil's vast deep-water oil reserves have become a new frontier for energy exploration and experts believe the country may have more than 50 billion barrels of oil buried below the ocean's surface, beneath a thick layer of salt in a region known as the subsalt.

CD has already been successful in exporting their skills and capabilities in overseas markets and has recently been carrying out significant detail engineering projects for clients in the offshore sector in the Caspian Sea region from their head offices in Newcastle.

The demand for engineering expertise shows no sign of diminishing and indeed CD's recruitment drive is only just beginning.

Project managers, design engineers, project engineers and draughtsmen in all disciplines are being sought to cater for the demand from industry throughout the globe.

For further information on the company please contact CD Group via email at or visit their website at


PROJECTS ROV deployment at sea. Below, HMS Endurance, which was surveyed by CD Group after damage
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Feb 18, 2011
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