Young women excel in ECITB-backed engineering apprenticeships
Four young women have joined the growing ranks of Modern Apprentices at Forth Valley College by embarking on the prestigious Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP), thanks to support from the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).
It is hoped that their experiences will help inspire more women to think about careers in engineering as Scottish Apprenticeship Week approaches (Monday 4 – Friday 8 March).
Alyssa Malcolmson and Cayleigh Will (both Aker Solutions) and Niamh Duncan (WorleyParsons) and Rebecca McMillan (Petrofac), began their apprenticeships last year at FVC. ECITB, the statutory skills body for the engineering construction industry, sponsors the training of OGTAP apprentices on behalf of various partner companies.
In August 2018 Forth Valley College registered a record number of female engineering modern apprentices (MAs) for an academic year. A total of 19 women MAs, including those supported by ECITB – covering areas such as welding and fabrication, instrumentation, power distribution and mechanical engineering – are studying for their apprenticeships at the FVC Falkirk Campus.
FVC Business Development staff who are mentoring the MAs – David Quinney, Lorna Allison, Alanna Robertson, Vicki Francis, Frances Tasker and Lorraine Kerr are all hoping the record number of female engineering MAs, will inspire more and more to become interested in careers within the industry.
Alyssa Malcolmson (18) from Shetland, who works as an MA for Aker Solutions, said: “College has been really good so far. So far we've been learning a lot of theory both in the classroom and the workshop, getting a basic understanding of the subjects. The facilities at college are great, and I'm looking forward to spending more time in the plant room.
“For me the best bit about college is the time in the workshop. I learn so much better in a hands on situation and I find it really interesting. The Engineering MA programme is such a great opportunity! You get paid to learn and you get a great job at the end of it.”
Cayleigh Will (18) from Turriff, who is also an MA with Aker Solutions, said: “The facilities have everything you need and the lecturers are great. They do really well in ensuring everyone is coping well with each subject. The best bit for me has been getting in the workshops and carrying out practical tasks.
“I would recommend the programme as it is a great way to start your career within the industry. The mixture of class based and practical work really helps with the understanding of the work we are going to be doing in the future.”
Niamh Duncan (18) from Keith, works as an MA with WorleyParsons. She added: “The best part of this experience so far has been getting into a boiler suit and doing what I’ve wanted to do for my whole life. I normally have a full face of make up on and am dressed up to go out. I just love having no mask on when it comes to my job and it makes me feel amazing when it comes to doing things that I will need to do when I go to work offshore in the future. Getting paid to be doing a job that I love is a total bonus.
“I would highly recommend the OGTAP programme. The whole process has been a good experience, from applying to the job, to the aptitude tests, to the interview. I would highly encourage any females out there to apply to this programme as you will feel included and treated with respect like any other individual on the course.”
Rebecca McMillan (23), from Buckie, who works as an MA for Petrofac, said: “As I had not had any previous engineering experience prior to this apprenticeship, I am thoroughly enjoying the total change and the mixture of subjects. The facilities provide exactly what is required for the course and gives us a feel of what the equipment could be like offshore. The lecturers are kind, positive and very knowledgeable, as most have worked in the industry previously.
“The modern apprenticeship in Engineering offers amazing opportunities and is a well-recognised program. You will learn about the industry from the lecturers as well as all information for the required subjects.”
Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, 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.”
Caroline Hogg, FVC Client Manager in the Department of Business Development, said: “ECITB are one of our most important partners and we are delighted to see so many young women enrol on their OGTAP programme. They form part of an enthusiastic first year group and we are sure they will inspire more women to find out more about engineering as a career. ECITB have been very proactive to attract women into the profession and we look forward to working with them to promote this and their other innovative programmes in the future.”
Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “It is great that a record number of women engineering modern apprentices started with us last year, including those from ECITB, and we hope this will inspire even more women to think about engineering as a career. As a college we have been taking this message – which runs in parallel to the Scottish Government’s Gender Strategy - to schools and across the wider community for many years and we know our industry partners have been doing the same. We hope intakes like this will become the norm from now on.”