The award, supported by Skills Development Scotland, is designed to fast-track 20 young people from Inverness, Thurso and Wick who are considering a career in engineering.
The 10 week intensive course, which runs from Inverness College UHI and North Highland College UHI, includes students working alongside SSEPD engineers to learn more about the organisation. In return, if they are successful they will be given the opportunity of an apprenticeship or further training.
The programme includes an employer assessed real life work experience placement, resulting in a formal qualification, quality assured by the Energy & Efficiency Independent Assessment Service. It marks a considerable commitment from a large employer to ensure future employees not only have the right skills but also the right attitude before they are hired. Programmes such as this have been launched to ensure young people are equipped with work-ready skills as well as qualifications.
Marcus Dicks (22) from Ardersier currently lives in a homeless shelter in Inverness. He is one of the lucky 20 chosen. He said “This is a massive opportunity for me; I have wanted to work with SSE for a long time. Their values, the size of the company and the challenges within the programme will be hugely beneficial to me. I have worked for other organisations but SSE offers a career not just a job. I am interested in a transmission apprenticeship in the future and I am really looking forward to starting the course this week.”
Gary Hamilton, SSE’s Technical Training Manager, said “SSE is committed to supporting opportunities for young people from the communities we serve. Since 2007, we’ve hired 800 apprentices and trainees, representing an investment of £64 million – about £80,000 for every young person. This new course is a great opportunity for young people from the Highlands to show us what they can do – and to learn more about us at the same time. We are willing to offer successful students an opportunity to apply for our apprentice programme or one of our other programmes within SSE, with the potential to lead on to an exciting career in the energy industry.”
Debbie Gray, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at North Highland College UHI commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to gain the skills and experience that are valued by employers as well as an excellent stepping stone for those wishing to move onto a modern apprenticeship. We are all very excited to be working with SSE and partners on a shared delivery of this unique training programme.”
Diane Rawlinson, Principal and Chief Executive at Inverness College UHI, said: “The students embarking on the Certificate of Work Readiness programme recognise the potential of this opportunity and how committed we are as training providers to ensure we afford them the necessary skills to pave their way into employment.
“At Inverness College UHI we strive to continually cultivate partnerships with local employers and I’m delighted to be working with SSE again on this initiative.”
Aidan Brooks, Youth Entrant Programme Lead for EU Skills, commented: “More than 208,000 new people will be needed in the energy and utilities sector in the next twelve years. We are working closely with employers to address this skills gap and The Certificate of Work Readiness programme is an excellent example of what’s possible. We’re delighted to be working with SSE to welcome new people into a sector that has so much to offer them.
“Successful completion of the award offers young people greatly improved job prospects and a variety of transferable skills including self-evaluation, planning and goal setting.”