A college in Teesside is now able to offer apprenticeships in heavy vehicle trailer repairs thanks to the support of a local freight logistics firm.
AV Dawson has donated a £10,000 trailer to Middlesbrough College so its students can learn about trailer fitting and maintenance.
Maurice Dawson, chairman at AV Dawson, which operates a 100 acre freight logistics terminal at Teesport in Middlesbrough, said he decided to make the donation after being impressed with the college's new £20m STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) Centre of Excellence, where the trailer is housed. He added:
"This is a trailer we would otherwise have exported for sale, but we're delighted to donate it to the college.
"It means the students can go beyond theory and do everything from testing the brakes and electrics to replacing the wheels."
Steven Ankers, the college's director of construction, engineering and advanced manufacturing, said the gesture proves how the institution is forging closer links with employers. He said:
"This is a very generous donation; the company has cut down the trailer from 45ft to 15ft to fit our facilities and overhauled and painted it.
"AV Dawson has also called in the support of some of its suppliers; with local businesses Haldex, HS-Tec and FP&S providing the braking system, electrical system and mud wings. The team at AV Dawson then fitted and tested everything, so it operates just like a full-size trailer."
Zoe Lewis, college principal and chief executive, thanked AV Dawson. She added:
"We work hard to develop and maintain strong industry links and we truly appreciate AV Dawson's input."
Founded by Vernie and Eleanor Dawson in 1938 with £50 for horse Dina, her shoes and a cart to deliver coal, AV Dawson last year opened a £6.5m, 102,000sq ft shed capable of handling hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel coil for the car industry.
With environmentally friendly climate control systems and a direct link to the national rail network, bosses believe the site is the first of its type in the UK.
The company has also built a £3.4m deepwater quay to welcome larger vessels, and set up a £2.6m rail terminal linked to the East Coast Main Line.
It was honoured for its automotive distribution centre at last week's Freight Industry Times Awards and most recently claimed the Services Award at the North East Business Awards.