Bright sparks get into electrical installation

Monday July 30th 2018

Edinburgh College Electrical Engineering

Deepi Bhardwaj (Prince’s Trust Scotland), Rhys Frier (back), Aaron Bryson (front), David Hershaw (back), David Henderson (front), Stuart Finlay, Anne Galbraith (SECTT chief executive), Leo Bertram (front), Darrell Matthews (back, SELECT managing director), Ben MacLeod (front), Brandon Burns (back), Robbie Littlejohn (front), James Trotter (back) and Boreih Hussein.

A group of young unemployed people have gained valuable industry experience and are looking forward to a career in electrical installation thanks to a programme designed to boost job prospects.

The five-week Prince’s Trust Get Into Electrical Installation course at Edinburgh College’s Sighthill Campus, now in its fourth year, offers training and work experience in electrical installation to unemployed young people.

Eleven students completed the free training course, getting a taste of life in the industry and help to secure employment with local employers.

This year’s students completed four weeks of learning with Edinburgh College lecturers and a week-long work experience placement with electrical contractors. In their final week, students brushed up on their CV writing and interview skills.

To mark their achievements the students attended a course celebration event held at Sighthill Campus. They were joined by Edinburgh College assistant principal Mike Jeffrey, delegates from partner organisations and friends and family.

Get Into Electrical Installation is a partnership between Edinburgh College, Prince’s Trust Scotland, the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and SELECT – Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland.

Edinburgh College assistant principal Mike Jeffrey said:

“The students should be proud of what they have achieved over the last six weeks. They’ve worked tremendously hard to learn new skills and develop themselves. I hope they go on to build successful careers in the electrical industry and we look forward to hopefully welcoming them back to the college as part of their future training.”

Two of this year’s student group have secured apprenticeships after impressing their placement providers during their week of work and in interviews, while the rest of the cohort are actively applying for apprenticeships and enrolling on courses to return to Edinburgh College on a full-time basis next term.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Bryson from Gorebridge starts an apprenticeship with Arthur McKay Building Services very soon and says the opportunity of working with their team on placement further inspired him to pursue his goal of becoming a qualified electrician.

Aaron said: “I’ve always had a keen interest in electrical installation and this course has given me the chance to get some real work experience and prepare me for an apprenticeship. It was brilliant to get out on site during placement and I can’t wait to get started with Arthur McKay next week.”

Arthur McKay operations director Mike Stark said:

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Aaron on board with us next week after he excelled in both his work placement and his interview. Our staff who worked with Aaron were instantly impressed with his enthusiasm and his understanding of the electrical industry, which shone through in his interview too. It’s the first time I’ve handed an applicant an apprenticeship in the interview room, that’s how impressed we were with Aaron.

“Courses such as these give students an insight into the career of an electrician and provides a valuable introduction to the sector – helping us to build an excellent workforce for the future.”

Seventeen-year-old Robbie Littlejohn has accepted an apprenticeship offer with FES, starting in August.

He said: “It’s brilliant and I can’t wait to get started with my apprenticeship. The Prince’s Trust course has really helped to grow my confidence and gave me a chance to work on live projects with trained electricians and others from the construction industry – that was really great. I had the chance to work on the renovation of the former Stow College in Glasgow which was amazing to be a part of.”

All electrical apprenticeships in Scotland are overseen by the SECTT.

SECTT chief executive Anne Galbraith said: “This is the fourth successful year of running the programme at Edinburgh College. The course provides an excellent route into employment for these young people, as well as developing their social skills and boosting their confidence. It’s been wonderful getting to know this group of students during their time at the college and we will now focus on helping them all to find suitable employment or training.”

The course is funded by trade body SELECT. Managing director Darrell Matthews said:

“It’s been fantastic to come to the college today and hear about the experiences of the students who have completed this year’s programme. Apprentices are the lifeblood of the electrical industry and we’re proud to continue our support of this course. It’s brilliant to hear that Aaron and Robbie have already secured apprenticeships and that the rest of this year’s cohort have opted to pursue careers in electrical installation. The students and the college should be very proud.”

Director of Prince’s Trust Scotland Kate Still said: “Prince’s Trust Scotland is delighted that this group of young people from Edinburgh have had a chance to show off their potential to be the future workforce in electrical installation. Support, investment, expertise, training and work experience from industry partners like SELECT and the college network make this all possible, helping to change young lives.”

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