Business Secretary welcomes new apprentices at Scottish Gas training academy

The Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable MP visited Scottish Gas Training Academy recently in Hamilton to meet the company’s newest apprentices. Around 100 apprentices are being trained at the Scottish Gas Academy this year.

Seventy of the group are being trained as “Smart Energy Experts” at its Academy to support a UK Government programme which will see smart meters installed as standard in homes and businesses across Britain.

In addition to its Smart Energy Experts, the company today announced it would be recruiting a further 100 apprentices in its nationwide Service and Repair division, with 16 of the new engineering roles being located in Scotland.

Vincent Cable at British GasDr Cable’s visit coincides with new independent research, commissioned by Scottish Gas, which shows that young people (aged 15-24) living in Scotland think apprenticeships can be a viable alternative to university. Among the key findings:

  • 96% of respondents had heard about apprenticeships
  • Two thirds of respondents (66%) said they had considered an apprenticeship over university
  • Just under half of respondents (44%) had spoken with teachers about an apprenticeship as a career option

Cable said:

“Support from leading companies like Scottish Gas means that it is fast becoming the norm for young people to choose either university or an apprenticeship as a route to a great career in engineering.

“I encourage other companies to follow Scottish Gas in recognising the value that apprentices add to their business in helping them to grow and develop a highly skilled workforce.”

Apprentice Marc McGill, 24, from Glasgow, joined the Training Academy last month. On completing his one-year apprenticeship, he hopes to qualify to join the company’s 1,200-strong team of specialists working across Britain to deliver the smart meter rollout, a programme to install the next generation of gas and electricity meters nationwide. 

Around 76,000 homes and over 23,000 businesses across Scotland are already benefiting from smart meters installed by Scottish Gas. The new meters put an end to estimated bills and show, via an in-home display, how much energy you’re using at any moment and its cost in pounds and pence.

Marc McGill said:

“I knew an apprenticeship would give me new skills, a qualification and a solid trade. I saw the apprenticeship with British Gas online and I jumped at the chance to apply!

“I started my training earlier this month and I’m really enjoying it. It’s been a lot to take in being a completely new field, but we have the best equipment and people to learn from.

“I was really excited to get this apprenticeship and now I’m just looking forward to learning as much as I can and completing my training next year.”

Christine McGourty of Scottish Gas, said:

“We’re proud to welcome Vince Cable to our Training Academy and introduce him to some of the talented new people we’ve taken on in Scotland.

“In today’s tough and highly competitive job environment, apprenticeships offer people a chance to gain hands-on skills, a recognised qualification and to develop a career. Around 80 per cent of our engineers started their careers as apprentices with us.

“We’ve employed an additional 450 Smart Energy Expert apprentices across Britain this year. They’re learning how to install smart meters, give energy efficiency advice and in turn, show customers how they can be more in control of their energy bills.

“We are also pleased to be recruiting one hundred new Service and Repair apprentices across Britain, some of whom will be based in Scotland. Our apprentices will eventually join the team of 6,800 engineers fixing and servicing boilers up and down the country.”

Across Britain, the company receives about 50 applications for every engineering apprenticeship. The company is investing around £14 million in its six Training Academies, located in Scotland, England and Wales, and on apprenticeships this year. Around 500 people have completed engineering apprenticeships at Scottish Gas’ Training Academy in Hamilton.

 

Pictured are Dr Vincent Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business with the apprentices at British Gas in Hamilton

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