New Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Chief Executive Andrew Hockey was on hand to welcome the latest cohort of learners on to the Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP) during their induction day at Forth Valley College in Scotland.

He was paying a visit to the Falkirk education provider as part of a tour of Scotland as he looks to meet with a wide range of ECITB stakeholders during his first months in the role.

Andrew spoke with the OGTAP apprentices as part of an introduction before Senior Account Manager for Scotland Lisa Williamson and Account Manager Nikki MacPherson delivered an ECITB induction to the new starters.

A tour of the campus with Forth Valley College Vice Principal of Business and Innovation Colin McMurray followed before Andrew met with Principal Kenny MacInnes.

ECITB Chief Executive Andrew Hockey and Forth Valley College Principal Kenny MacInnes (front row centre) with the OGTAP apprentices on their induction day

ECITB Chief Executive Andrew Hockey and Forth Valley College Principal Kenny MacInnes (front row centre) with the OGTAP apprentices

“It was great to meet with apprentices and members of the Forth Valley College team to stress our support for the programme,” ECITB Chief Executive Andrew said.

“Since 2020, the ECITB has supported 4,000 new entrants into the engineering construction industry, and a big part of delivering our new three-year strategy is this continued focus on encouraging new entrants.

“Between now and 2026, the UK needs around 25,000 extra workers for major projects in the industry. Without a pipeline of skilled people to build, operate and maintain major projects and infrastructure, the UK’s and Scotland’s targets for energy security and transition may not be achieved.

“Apprenticeships are vital in helping to achieve this. Forth Valley College’s delivery of the OGTAP over the past decade is a great example of this, having achieved a 90-95% success rate.

“The industry values the programme and the new entrants coming out of it, and we look forward to collaborating further with the college to achieve our aims.”

Apprenticeship developing new engineering professionals

Andrew Hockey at the Forth Valley College Electrical Workshop and on a tour of the campus

ECITB Chief Executive Andrew Hockey visited the college’s electrical workshop as part of a tour of the campus with Colin McMurray (right)

OGTAP employers Wood, Petrofac, Semco/PBS and Bilfinger also met with the first-year apprentices as part of the induction day.

Forth Valley College is one of the main providers of the OGTAP, which is managed by the ECITB and OPITO, the skills organisation for oil and gas.

The programme gives apprentices the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification combined with practical work experience.

As well as delivering the OGTAP, the college is also one of 11 centres throughout the UK that deliver the ECITB Scholarship Programme.

Principal Kenny MacInnes, himself a former mechanical engineering apprentice at Falkirk College of Technology (now Forth Valley College), said: “It’s great once again to welcome a new cohort of Modern Apprentices (MAs) onto the exciting Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme.

“This programme is another example of the excellent relationship we have with the ECITB and we are confident that it will enhance the MAs’ opportunities to progress onto employment in the engineering industry.

“Both the ECITB and Forth Valley College play an important role to support the Scottish economy. The programme has built a tremendous reputation for training and developing new engineering professionals and we look forward to strengthening our relationship in the future.”

Find out more about ECITB apprenticeships