Bright Sparks Gain Valuable Training With Ssepd - Eu Skills Group

Bright Sparks Gain Valuable Training With Ssepd and Eu Skills Group

At the end of March, representatives from energy business Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) and the Energy & Utility Skills Group launched the Certificate of Work Readiness training programme at Inverness College UHI.

The award, supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is designed to fast-track 20 young people from a wide geographical area stretching from Thurso and Wick, right down to Inverness, who are considering a career in engineering.

Led by SSE, the 10-week intensive course which runs from Inverness College UHI and North Highland College UHI, includes students working alongside SSE 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 through employers including Balfour Beatty, Power Team, Bam Nuttall and SSE, resulting in a formal qualification, quality assured by the Energy & Efficiency Independent Assessment Service (EEIAS). 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.

Since the programme began, learners have had the opportunity to spend time at local colleges to achieve their Certificate of Work Readiness, worked with SSE training specialists to achieve their C1 Authorisation, taken advantage of safe handling of tools training and are currently undertaking invaluable work experience.

Marcus Dicks, 22 from Ardersier currently lives in a homeless shelter in Inverness. He is one of the lucky 20 chosen. Prior to starting the course Marcus 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.”

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 onto 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 the EU Skills Group, 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.

“The programme is focused on delivering relevant and recognised progression routes for individuals. 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. The programme has recruited from a huge geographical area and although it’s early days, the young people are making excellent progress and demonstrating fantastic learner commitment to engage with and achieve within our sector. ”