Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets oil and gas apprentices
The four female ECITB-sponsored OGTAP apprentices

The four trailblazing female ECITB-sponsored OGTAP apprentices (L to R) Rebecca McMillan (Petrofac), Alyssa Malcolmson (Aker Solutions), Cayleigh Will (Aker Solutions) and Niamh Duncan (WorleyParsons).

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets with female oil and gas apprentices Rebecca McMillan and Niamh Duncan at Forth Valley College, Falkirk.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited a group of trailblazing female Modern Apprentices at Forth Valley College in Falkirk to launch Scottish Apprenticeship Week (4 – 8 March).

Ms Sturgeon met with the 19-strong cohort and spoke with four ECITB-sponsored apprentices – who are part of a prestigious ECITB-backed Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP) – as well as the wider cohort of 19 young female apprentices enrolled at the college.

Alyssa Malcolmson and Cayleigh Will (both Aker Solutions) and Niamh Duncan (WorleyParsons) and Rebecca McMillan (Petrofac), began their apprenticeships last year at FVC. The ECITB, as statutory skills body for the engineering construction industry, sponsors the training of OGTAP apprentices on behalf of various partner companies.

While at Forth Valley College, the First Minister announced the creation of a new network to connect high schools in Scotland with current or former apprentices so they inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “Creating this network of apprentices who can share their experiences with others will help inspire the next generation.

“We know that work-based learning delivers for individuals, employers and the Scottish economy. Through the network, apprentices are going to have the chance to inspire young people to follow their example and become the apprentices of tomorrow.

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to launch the network at Forth Valley College, and to see first-hand the excellent work being done to encourage more young women to consider careers in fields such as engineering.”

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “Attracting more young women into engineering is crucial if we are to address the growing skills shortages facing the industry in Scotland and across the UK.

“Modern apprenticeships are a fantastic route into engineering and we’re delighted to be supporting these four young apprentices on the OGTAP programme at Forth Valley College. They are turning traditional stereotypes on their head by showing that engineering is an attractive and rewarding career path for talented and ambitious young women.”

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the First Minister to our Falkirk Campus on Monday 4 March to help us celebrate the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019. It is great that a record number of women engineering modern apprentices started with us last year, including those from ECITB, and we hope this will inspire even more women to think about engineering as a career.

“Our event also kicked off discussions around our own network for female engineers, something we are hoping to develop in partnership with industry in order to champion the achievements of female engineers and highlight opportunities available. We currently have our largest ever intake of women in this sector and during the visit we were able to introduce the First Minister to our 19 first year female MAs, in addition to some former students. We are very proud of our high number of female engineers and we know that encouraging women into STEM subjects is also something very close to the First Minister’s heart. I am sure her visit will have inspired these students even more and also encourage more young women into engineering and other STEM subjects.”