By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Young Scots women will receive further help in taking up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from a new programme launched today to coincide with Scottish Apprenticeship Week (18 May 2015).
The Scot-Government is investing a further £125,000 in the CareerWISE initiative to raise awareness of STEM apprenticeships to girls and their parents, break down barriers to women taking them up and showcase employers taking action to address gender diversity in MAs.
Roseanne Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, said:
“The Scottish Government firmly believes that there is no such thing as a ‘job for a boy’ or a ‘job for a girl’.
“Our continued support for the CareerWISE programme and its new focus to support young women access STEM MAs sits at the heart of our drive for a more productive and fairer work place”.
Today (Monday) Deputy First Minister John Swinney will visit SSE in Perth to meet some of the company’s modern apprentices while Roseanna Cunningham will visit Scottish Power apprentices in Cumbernauld later this week.
Meanwhile, two new young apprentices at SSE’s Hadyard Hill wind farm in South Ayrshire have started the technical component of their turbine maintenance training ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship week.
Cameron Galloway (18) from Maybole and Calvin Anderson (also 18) of Prestwick, completed the academic component of their apprenticeships at Carnegie College last year. After they finish hands-on skills development at Hadyard Hill, they will be well on the way to becoming fully qualified wind farm turbine maintenance technicians.
Calvin Anderson said: “I was surprised to be able to find an apprenticeship that interests me so close to my home town of Prestwick. The first year was theory-based study but getting out into the real world of work to apply those ideas is what I’m enjoying much more.
“The learning curve has been very steep and the most important thing we’ve learned is that at SSE safety comes first – it’s something everyone in the team has to understand and take responsibility for at all times.”
Hadyard Hill is a 52-turbine wind farm near Girvan in South Ayrshire, where SSE recently submitted a planning application for an extension to the existing site.
Bobby Gechie, Hadyard Hill Senior Site Supervisor, said: “It has been great to have the young apprentices on site and to see them absorb information quickly on what needs done and the best way to go about it. They get along very well and their enthusiasm is boundless. I am particularly pleased they have integrated so quickly and already become a valued part of the team here in South Ayrshire.”
Cameron Galloway, added: “I have learned so much through the apprenticeship and now that we are putting our academic skills into practice it definitely feels like ‘the real thing’. Learning how to maintain wind turbines is essential to ensure they are fixed if they break down and generally operate to the best standard possible; so it does feel good to be doing a job that’s worthwhile and quite specialised.
“Being able to gain practical experience and academic qualifications through one of the energy industry’s leading companies while also earning money has been fantastic for me as someone from a fairly rural part of Scotland like Maybole. The first time I went up one of the towers was really fascinating and I’d definitely recommend the apprenticeship to others thinking of a career in the energy sector.”