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New Energy Apprenticeships

24 March 2011

Up to £1 million will be made available to create as many as 500 Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland's energy and low carbon industries over the next year, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.

The First Minister made the announcement as he visited the premises of Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) in Edinburgh, where he met a number of apprentices employed by the company and by its parent company SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy). SSE recruits around 100 apprentices every year.

Earlier this month the Scottish Government announced, as part of next year's Budget, that Skills Development Scotland will create a record 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship places over the next year. Up to £1 million is being made available by Skills Development Scotland to support today's announcement, creating up to 500 modern apprenticeships in the energy and low carbon sectors.

The First Minister said: "Scotland has been blessed with unrivalled energy resources - from North Sea oil and gas to massive sources of renewable power. Such rich, diverse natural resources, coupled with our wealth of engineering expertise, particularly offshore, will help maintain Scotland's position as a major global centre for energy innovation and for a range of low carbon technologies that contribute to protecting the planet for future generations. These sectors are also vitally important to Scotland's economic prosperity, with the potential to support tens of thousands of new jobs over the next decade.

"Across all industries, it is vital that we continue to produce the skills and expertise that will support long-term, sustainable employment and economic growth. We are providing, through Skills Development Scotland, a record 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts across Scotland in 2011-12, and 46,500 training opportunities overall. As part of this record allocation, I'm delighted to announce our agreement with Skills Development Scotland to make available up to 500 Modern Apprenticeships places to support the continued growth in our energy and low carbon economy sectors next year."

Chair of Skills Development Scotland John McClelland said: "The Energy sector is one of Scotland's key economic drivers together with the transition to a low carbon economy. As such the development of industry relevant skills is critical for Scotland's sustained economic growth. The employment opportunities are vast, with up to tens of thousands of additional jobs estimated to be created between now and 2020. Last year saw the launch of the UK's first MA in Wind Turbine Service Technician, as well as the launch of the Low Carbon Skills Fund to assist the sector to up-skill its workforce. These MAs will help provide the industry with the much needed skilled technicians who will be critical in meeting the sector's future requirements."

Gary Hamilton, Head of Apprentice Programme, Scottish and Southern Energy, added: "This is a very welcome announcement from the First Minister. Our apprentice scheme is an investment for the future, many of our senior staff began their careers as apprentices, and have enjoyed significant development opportunities form the moment they joined the company. A whole new world can be opened up for apprentices. They get a profession, training and the opportunity to progress their career within a major UK company. Apprentices spend between three and four years training, combining work placements with formal study for a range of professional qualifications. We have electrical, gas, and mechanical advanced apprenticeships as well as electrical, mechanical and control and instrumentation apprenticeships."