The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 14 September 2007

From Redundant Workers to High Flying Trainees

A group of Ayrshire trainees are making a flying start to their new careers after successfully completing a National Certificate (NC) in Aeronautical Engineering.

Picture shows: back row left to right: Jack Perrins, James McKee, Robert Gallacher, Craig Paterson, Barry Graham. Front row: Peter Baird, Ross Clezy, John Chilton.

The trainees - many of them ex-Simclar workers who were made redundant by the firm earlier this year - expect to gain employment within Ayrshire's thriving aerospace sector. In fact, some have already gained employment with Ryanair's maintenance division at Prestwick Airport.

Twelve candidates from across Ayrshire have completed the James Watt College course which provides excellent foundation training for entry into the industry, specifically the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) area. The MRO sector is worth more than £812 million in aerospace sales in Scotland alone.

Ryanair (Prestwick Aircraft Maintenance Ltd) is guaranteeing a job interview to every candidate successfully completing the course and there are a number of vacancies available at the Prestwick site. Other employers are also keen to take advantage of their new skills.

The trainees were supported by the Ayrshire Redundancy Response Partnership, which worked with them to identify their re-training needs following Ayrshire's large scale redundancies. They accessed the course through Training for Work, a Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire programme that aims to get unemployed adults back into the workplace.

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire operations director Evelyn McCann said: "The establishment of a strong, vibrant aerospace sector based around Prestwick Airport is one of Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire's key strategies. An important element of the strategy is the availability of a workforce with the correct skills and this training course is vital in ensuring that employers have access to the appropriately skilled people.

"The trainees have turned the disappointment and shock of redundancy into an opportunity to re-train in one of Ayrshire's most successful sectors and I wish them luck with their future careers."

James Watt College training programmes officer Gordon Stewardson said: "We first piloted this programme in 2003 and its success has led to more than 28 trainees successfully gaining employment within the aerospace sector, with more going onto employment elsewhere in Ayrshire.

"The course includes five weeks of practical training at our simulated hangar in Port Glasgow and candidates successfully completing the programme will have gained the skills necessary to begin type specific training with a company in the MRO sector. There are excellent career opportunities in the field of aeronautical engineering and we will now work with the group to help them to secure employment."

The NC in Aeronautical Engineering includes training in Avionics, Mathematics, Physics, Electrical Fundamentals, Basic Aerodynamics, Aviation Legislation, Aeroplane Aerodynamics, Gas Turbine Engines, Practical Sheet Metal Working, Health and Safety at Work, Engineering Communication and Basic Computer Skills.

In 2006, James Watt College in partnership with Prestwick Aircraft Maintenance Ltd and Scottish Enterprise won a National Training Award for outstanding achievement in the delivery of this Training for Work programme.

The Ayrshire Redundancy Response Partnership is led by Jobcentre Plus and comprises representatives from Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire, the three local authorities, Careers Scotland, Business Gateway, HM Revenue and Customs and the Scottish Trades Union Congress. Its work is supported by a number of other organisations including training providers, local colleges, the Citizens Advice Bureau and employers.

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