EIGHT North-east school pupils have succeeded in gaining an industry-standard qualification in a pilot project launched as a result of the Wood Review recommendation to start developing a young workforce to plug the engineering skills gap across the region.
The pupils from Turriff Academy, aged 16-17 years-old, have been awarded an SVQ Level 1 Performing Engineering Operations qualification after taking part in the eight-month initiative at Aberdeen modern apprenticeship training firm, ITCA Training.
Funded by Aberdeenshire Council’s education department, the teenagers attended the training centre, based at the Kirkhill Industrial Estate in Dyce, every second Wednesday, to gain practical experience in welding, fabrication, machining, turning and general engineering hand skills.
Managing director of ITCA Training, June Jones, said: “This has proved to be a successful pilot project which has resulted in these eight pupils gaining an industry-standard qualification while still in full-time education.
“This initiative is directly focussed on addressing the skills gap in engineering in the North-east as we face an ever increasing aging workforce, so we have to focus on providing promising young engineers with the skilled training and support they need to pursue a career in this field.”
Turriff Academy was the first North-east school to embark on the project and the school has already agreed to continue with a new group of pupils in 2016/2017.
Jane Bisset, depute rector at Turriff Academy, has welcomed the initiative: “This course is beneficial to students because they are given the opportunity to work with industry-standard equipment and with professional trainers to equip them for a positive destination after school to become resourceful members of Scotland’s young workforce.
“The PEO1 qualification stands alongside their academic qualifications and their vocational college certificates to ensure they are ready for the world of work or further study.
“It also puts the students one step ahead when searching for training and jobs in today’s, very competitive market.”
Four of the young engineers from Turriff Academy have left school this year and succeeded in securing a job or a job with further training.
With the pilot project being hailed a success, more schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, are considering encouraging pupils to participate on the course in the next academic session.
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