Scotland’s Apprentice Network launched by First Minister at FVC

FM and MA Group

Scotland’s Apprentice Network launched by First Minister at FVC

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon chose Forth Valley College – one of Scotland’s leading trainers of Modern and Foundation Apprentices – to launch a new network initiative on the first day of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019 (Monday 4 March).

The College’s state-of-the-art Falkirk Campus Engineering facilities were the perfect backdrop to the First Minister announcing the new Scotland’s Apprentice Network – which is facilitated by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and aims to have an apprenticeship ambassador within every high school in Scotland by Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2020.

FVC Principal Dr Ken Thomson welcomed the First Minister to the Falkirk Campus where she met two former graduate apprentices and a group of 19 first year women Engineering MAs, who make up the largest intake of female engineers FVC has ever enrolled.

The College now boasts a total of 30 female Engineering MAs currently learning their trade at the Falkirk Campus and moves are also underway for FVC to develop a nationwide contact network for women apprentices in the engineering sector. A special lunch for the female MAs, their employers, senior college staff and lecturers was held today (4/03/19) at the College’s Gallery Training Restaurant in Stirling, to explore how this will work.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “Creating this network of apprentices who can share their experiences with others will help inspire the next generation.

"We know that work-based learning delivers for individuals, employers and the Scottish economy. Through the network, apprentices are going to have the chance to inspire young people to follow their example and become the apprentices of tomorrow.

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to launch the network at Forth Valley College, and to see first-hand the excellent work being done to encourage more young women to consider careers in fields such as engineering.”

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the First Minister to our Falkirk Campus on Monday to help us celebrate the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019. We are fully behind the First Minister’s launch of the Scotland’s Apprentice Network and feel this is a very positive initiative in terms of promoting apprenticeships to young people across Scotland.

“Our event also kicked off discussions around our own network for female engineers, something we are hoping to develop in partnership with industry in order to champion the achievements of female engineers and highlight opportunities available.  We currently have our largest ever intake of women in this sector and during the visit we were able to introduce the First Minister to our 19 first year female MAs, in addition to some former students. We are very proud of our high number of female engineers and we know that encouraging women into STEM subjects is also something very close to the First Minister’s heart. I am sure her visit will have inspired these students even more and also encourage more young women into engineering and other STEM subjects.”

Director of National Training Programmes at Skills Development Scotland, Katie Hutton, said: “We know that the best people to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships are successful apprentices. Through the network, apprentices will have a unique opportunity to talk directly to school pupils who are making their career choices and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.”

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB who sponsor four of the female MAs present on the day - Alyssa Malcolmson and Cayleigh Will (both Aker Solutions), Niamh Duncan (WorleyParsons) and Rebecca McMillan (Petrofac) - said: “Attracting more young women into engineering is crucial if we are to address the growing skills shortages facing the industry in Scotland and across the UK.

“Modern apprenticeships are a fantastic route into engineering and we’re delighted to be supporting these four young apprentices on the OGTAP programme at Forth Valley College. They are turning traditional stereotypes on their head by showing that engineering is an attractive and rewarding career path for talented and ambitious young women.”

For more information on Modern Apprenticeships and Foundation Apprenticeships at Forth Valley College, please click here

Ineos MAs explain the distillation process
Kenny Macinnes explains the mechanics to the FM
MAs showed off their skills
Great job
FM in the workshop
Rebecca and Niamh with FM
Ken, MA Kira Proctor and First Minister
First Minister with Ken Thomson


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