A pioneering new course, to be run between Loudoun Academy and Ayrshire College in East Ayrshire, is to directly tackle the skills shortage in engineering industry.
In a first for Scotland, the new course, which leads to Level 5 SVQ qualification, is also backed by 11 companies, which will each take responsibility for one pupil, offering mentoring, guidance and experience on how to be successful in the sector.
Pupils will study in the classroom at school and the businesses play a crucial role in helping drive the subject content – linking it directly to the skills they need in new recruits.
The initiative will deliver pupils who are industry ready, with work experience, a qualification and who have the necessary grounding to hit their employer’s floor running.
Councillor Fiona Campbell, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills said: “This initiative is the first of its kind in Scotland and I’m delighted that today’s first cohort of young people will meet their business mentors, college and university staff.
“It’s taken us a year of planning to get to this point and the initiative builds on positive and meaningful discussions with local employers, Ayrshire College and Strathclyde University, all aimed at securing pathways into engineering for our young people
“It is underpinned by recommendations in “Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce” published by the government, and we also considered information on labour market trends in East Ayrshire.
Jane Henderson, Developing the Young Workforce Manager at Ayrshire College added: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Loudoun Academy and a range of employers to give young people still at school a head-start in their careers.
“Engineering is a key sector with great opportunities. The industry-standard learning environment at College will help pupils develop the skills and knowledge needed to take them further, whether that be a Modern Apprenticeship, further study at College or at University. This partnership truly delivers the ambitions of Scotland to develop its young workforce.”
Councillor Campbell continued: “Importantly, we listened closely to employers, recognising the chronic shortage of skilled engineers locally and nationally and we have designed the course to be wholly sustainable for the future, bringing together the commitment of the school, employers, parents, pupil, college and university.
“Pulling all of this together, Loudoun Academy has adapted the curriculum to benefit young people interested in an engineering career, in such a way that they are ready, skilled and equipped to meet the demands of their chosen career from the moment their journey begins.”
The pupils are: Dale Anderson, Kyle Bracher, Keir Cochrane, Jai Ewing, Hugh Gilbert, Henrietta Porter, Cameron Radigan, Scott Sherrie, Cieron Smith, Robbie Stevenson and William Storrar.
The businesses supporting them are:
• VG Energy
• West Siphonics
• Hyspec Engineering
• Scot Seats
• ISS Labour
• AL Install