A group of young unemployed people have gained valuable industry experience and are looking forward to a career in electrical engineering thanks to a programme designed to boost their job prospects.
The six-week Prince’s Trust Get Into Electrical Installation course at Edinburgh College’s Midlothian Campus, now in its third year, offers training and work experience in electrical engineering to unemployed young people.
Five students completed the free training course, which aims to give a taste of working in the industry and help them secure employment with local employers.
This year’s students attended five weeks of classes at Edinburgh College and ended the course with a week-long work experience placement with electrical contractors.
To celebrate their achievements the students attended a course completion event held at Midlothian Campus. They were joined by Edinburgh College assistant principal Jon Buglass, representatives from the partner organisations and local MSP Colin Beattie.
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 Jon Buglass said: “The students should be proud of what they have achieved and I hope they go on to use the new skills and experience they have gained through the course to build successful careers. We look forward to hopefully welcoming them to the college as part of their training in the future.”
Twenty two year-old Lewis Jackson, a graduate of the first cohort of the programme in 2015, gave a speech to this year’s students during the event. Lewis described how through the course he gained an apprenticeship with employer Response:
“Two years ago I didn’t know what I wanted to do, the course helped to turn my life around and gave me a focus. I have now completed two successful years of my apprenticeship and I hope that you will all go on to do the same.”
At the end of the course students were given an opportunity to attend interviews with potential employers.
Arthur McKay Building Services operations director Mike Stark said: “As a contractor, we see the course as a huge benefit for the industry. It gives the students an indication of what a career as an electrical engineer involves and provides a valuable introduction to the sector.”
Last year six young people completed the course. Two have since moved into apprenticeships, two have secured employment in engineering and two have begun an electrical pre-apprenticeship course.
All electrical apprenticeships in Scotland are overseen by the SECTT.
SECTT chief executive Anne Galbraith said: “This is the third successful year of running the programme at Edinburgh College. It is an excellent route into employment for these young people. I have visited this group on a weekly basis throughout their course and have been impressed with their commitment and positive attitude. It has been a pleasure getting to know them and we will do our best to ensure we find them all suitable employment.”
The course is funded by trade body SELECT. SELECT association secretary and head of resources John McGhee said: “Apprentices are the lifeblood of the electrical industry. We’re delighted to have supported this course since it began in 2015 and to see young people like Lewis coming back to tell of their success. I hope this year’s students and students in years to come are given an opportunity to thrive in the industry.”
Prince’s Trust Scotland director Allan Watt said: “We would like to thank all partners involved in running the course. These programmes simply wouldn’t happen without the investment and support from SELECT and SECTT, as well as the colleges network. SELECT’s financial investment, coupled with engagement from its members, has enabled us to grow the programme into three locations this year. Helping to change even more young people’s lives.”
After leaving school John, 17, from Newhaven did some occasional work for his dad’s friend’s company as a labourer. John worked with qualified electricians and knew this was a career he wanted to pursue. He began looking for an electrical apprenticeship and was interviewed by one company who told him completing a pre-apprenticeship course would help him to gain experience and increase his chances of securing an apprenticeship.
“I heard about the Prince’s Trust course through my careers adviser and hoped that it would be the perfect opportunity to give me the experience I needed to get an apprenticeship. We covered lots of topics in the workshop and I could see how much I was learning as the weeks went on. I did my placement with McGill Building Services and gained experience of working on site and in people’s homes. It helped me to understand the real day-to-day duties of an electrician.
“I’m going to send my updated CV to the company who said I should do a pre-apprenticeship course and other companies to hopefully secure an apprenticeship and begin my career as an electrical engineer.”
Nineteen year-old Jamal, from Musselburgh has been successful in securing an electrician’s mate role through the course.
“I’ve been offered a role with SES Engineering, the company I did my placement with. I will be working as an electrician’s mate to begin with and hope to progress on to an apprenticeship once I have more experience. On my placement I got to shadow electricians on a big site, which was different to anything I had ever done before. After I left school I worked for a joinery company but had no route to gaining qualifications. The course has helped me to get a foot in the door to the industry I want to work in.”
Prior to completing the course Amar, 25, from Gilmerton had done some occasional work on railways, building and maintaining track but was looking for a more permanent and focused career. After hearing about the programme through the job centre, Amar decided to pursue a career in electrical engineering.
“The workshop training and work placement gave me a feel for what it takes to be a successful electrician and has spurred me on to achieve this. I am determined to secure an apprenticeship and achieve my goal of becoming a fully qualified electrician.”
Amar’s placement was at McGill Building Services and involved working on site and shadowing the storeman in electrical stores.
After leaving school at 16, Sean went on to complete a number of National Certificate courses in land-based engineering and also spent time working in retail. Sean moved to Newington in November last year and struggled to find work. Through his work coach at the Job Centre, Sean found out about the Get Into Electrical Engineering course and saw it as an opportunity to learn a trade.
“I learned a lot of practical skills in the workshop classes and really enjoyed my work experience. The course gave me an opportunity to meet employers which I hope I can work for in the future.”
Sean completed his work experience with local employer Arthur McKay and received positive feedback on his commitment and determination.