Thursday, 15 May 2014

Companies encouraged to employ apprentices

A North Ayrshire engineering firm has backed a campaign to encourage more employers to consider providing apprenticeships.

McEvoy Engineering wants other companies to see the benefits apprentices can bring to their business.

Backing Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is hosting an information event, at which local companies will be able to find out about support available to employ apprentices. SDS key sector manager for engineering, Billy Scott, said, “There are more than 240 engineering firms in Ayrshire – from traditional engineers to aeronautic multi-nationals. Together they employ around 6,600 people across Ayrshire

“Engineering provides good long-term prospects for young people looking to start out on their career. There’s also a definite skills gap in the engineering sector. The average engineer in Scotland is in his 50s. We need the next generation of skilled workers to fill that gap and more Modern Apprenticeships are a way to do that.”

Stevenston-based McEvoy Engineering is backing the drive to encourage other firms to provide more apprenticeships places. Sales Manager Alison McEvoy said, “Through the Modern Apprenticeship programme, we have an opportunity to develop skilled tradesmen for our business. This is particularly important given the chronic shortage of skilled labour in the engineering sector.”

Ms McEvoy believes Modern Apprentices can be a vital part of any team, particularly individuals who are “keen to learn and not scared of hard work”, adding, “Our experienced tradesmen enjoy working with the apprentices to develop their skills and generally they are good for morale in the workplace. At the moment we have two Modern Apprentices in the business and hope to recruit more as our current apprentices develop.”

Skills Development Scotland wants to encourage companies to think about the benefits apprenticeships can bring to their business. Billy Scott said, “We also want them to know about the advice and support that is on offer locally, from Skills Development Scotland, local councils and economic development organisations.

“We want engineering firms to hear first-hand from other companies who have employed apprentices and see how they have improved their business.”
Also supporting the initiative is Karen Yeomans, North Ayrshire Council’s Head of Development Planning, who said, “We are delighted to be part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, to encourage local businesses to provide more apprenticeship places.

“McEvoy Engineering is an excellent example of a local company who have benefited from recruiting apprentices by helping to fill the skills gap in its workforce.

“Our ‘Team North Ayrshire’ partnership approach will help businesses looking to recruit apprentices by connecting them to the right people at the right time for advice and support.”

Ayrshire College is a major provider of engineering apprentices. As well as backing the engineering event, the college is supporting Scottish Apprenticeship Week by working with employers to promote the benefits of apprentices.

‘Modern Apprentices: Engineering Ayrshire’ takes place at the Park Hotel in Kilmarnock from 8:00am to 10:00am on Wednesday, May 21, during Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Ayrshire engineering companies can find out more by contacting Neil Cunningham at SDS on 0300 013 2247 or at www.scottishapprenticeshipweek.com

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