North East technology specialist Advantex has appointed two new apprentices as it invests further to secure its future workforce needs and strengthen core technical skills.

Luke O’Connell and Taylor O’Connell – sons of company founders Dave O’Connell and Steve O’Connell respectively – have started a four and a half-year electrical apprenticeship that will see them qualify as electricians with expertise in data cabling, fibre optics, IP CCTV and access control work.

The move, which sees Advantex link up with East Durham College and New College Durham to train them both as they work towards achieving their Level 3 vocational qualifications, comes as the firm sees continued demand for its infrastructure, IP based security systems, IT and digital connectivity services.

East Durham College

A mix of new business wins and existing client growth include contract work with multinational energy and automation energy specialist Schneider Electric, Kenton School, Hitachi-Rail and Sirius.

The firm continues to invest in developing a trained workforce equipped with the skills to meet current and future needs – several apprentices have already passed through Advantex’s doors on their way to careers with the firm, including lead engineer Peter Fitzsimmons, who was the first one appointed in 2003.

Operations director Dave O’Connell said: “We’re committed to adding value to our offering through apprentices as part of our growth and expansion plans. We’re delighted to have Luke and Taylor on-board and look forward to seeing them gain the skills for a successful and rewarding career with the company.”

Apprentice Luke O’Connell said: “I’m learning a lot and it’s definitely where I see my future heading. I’m on track for a rewarding and sustainable career that really suits my skills and abilities, and I really look forward to becoming fully qualified.”

Currently employing around 50 people and targeting a £6 million turnover in the next 12 months, Advantex has seen success on the back of new product introductions and investment in a highly

skilled workforce. Its work in construction as well as providing key worker support services, such as superfast broadband connectivity, during the pandemic has helped to secure growth.