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Unique Partnership At Dumfries And Galloway College Creates Local Jobs In The Energy Industry

19/04/2013

Angela Constance MSP will visit Dumfries & Galloway College on Friday 19th April 2013 to give her backing to a new training initiative that is leading to new local jobs in Dumfries & Galloway.

ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) has joined forces with Dumfries & Galloway College and its contractor CIET to deliver a new and unique 12 week course that offers participants the opportunity of gaining immediate employment as trainee electrical overhead linepersons on completion of the course.

The course was devised to attract semi-qualified people into the energy industry, with the aim of specifically targeting those currently out of work. The first class of nine students are set to go straight in to full time employment with CIET, one of SPEN’s main overhead line contractors, in the Dumfries & Galloway area as soon as the course has been completed.

Just this week SPEN announced that it will create up to 4,000 new roles in the energy industry over the next decade, and the company is already undertaking major recruitment drives both directly and working with its contractors to ensure it has the skilled workforce in place to deliver billions of pounds of planned investment in their electricity networks.

The course has been created through a partnership involving Dumfries & Galloway College, the Sector Skills Council Energy & Utility Skills and industry partners ScottishPower Energy Networks and CIET. The South West of Scotland is a key region for investment in energy infrastructure, meaning there will be immediate and long-term employment opportunities in the area.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “As many as four out five workers in the energy sector are set to retire over the next fifteen years, which comes at the same time as we are looking to deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in over half a century. To deliver this major investment programme we need to see new recruits across the board, from apprentices to tradesmen to engineers and graduates.

“We are already well underway with recruiting the 1500 jobs we announced last year. With our £2.6billion investment plans between 2013 and 2021 approved by Ofgem, we have placed £850million of contracts for 2013 and have recruited a third of the 1500 posts, effectively trebling our annual recruitment levels in SPEN. 

“Partnerships like the ones we have developed with Dumfries & Galloway College and CIET will be essential to encourage new blood in to the industry. After only 12 weeks the students on this course will have the opportunity to establish long-term careers in the energy industry, in highly-skilled roles, and help to deliver some of the biggest investments ever carried out in Scotland’s electricity networks.”

Angela Constance MSP, Minister for Youth Employment, said: "I am delighted to see the level of partnership working between the college, ScottishPower and local businesses, particularly in a key sector relating to Scotland's infrastructure.

"This initiative will open up considerable opportunities for young people, help them understand the workplace and gain considerable experience as they move forward with their working lives."

Carol Turnbull, Principal Dumfries & Galloway College commented:  “This is an excellent example of partnership working between Industry and the College and demonstrates the crucial role Colleges have in delivering skills to support the economic development of the region and Scotland.  I’m delighted that we have been able to respond in such a short time to address this local skills gap and contribute to local employment opportunities in Dumfries & Galloway.” 

Louis Cronin, Managing Director of CIET commented: “CIET (UK) Ltd are delighted to be in a position to support local employment in the Dumfries and Galloway region and I am looking forward to the trainees joining the company at the end of April and progressing in the electricity utility industry”

The 12 week course combines the delivery of underpinning knowledge in the classroom with practical skills training delivered using the new purpose built training network established on the College Campus.

Nine local people have been recruited for the pilot course which will complete at the end of April 2013.  On successful and satisfactory completion of the course, the trainees will immediately and directly be employed by locally based CIET (UK) Ltd, a company that is contracted by ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) to construct and refurbish their overhead power line infrastructure.

Across Scotland and the wider UK, there is a shortage of skilled linespersons.  The College is currently in discussions with CIET about the potential for a further intake of trainees later in 2013 or early 2014.  The College has also met with a further two of SPEN’s contractors in Scotland who are looking to recruit trainees to undertake the customised training course and join their workforce.

The pilot 12 week course combines the delivery of foundation knowledge in the classroom and practical skills development in a custom built training network environment. 

Media Information: Paul Ferguson – 0141 614 4535 / 07702 665 924

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