Matt Oates, Director of Operations at the ECITB, said: “Investment into training and retention of skilled engineers is vital to meet the growing need in Aberdeen and the north-east.
“This course is part of a wider programme we have to support Just Transition, as activities to achieve net zero by 2050 accelerate.
“Having ETZ Ltd recognise and support the scholarship programme has been invaluable, as has the support of NESCol in its delivery of the training.”
Students from the 2022 cohort, who are due to complete the programme in summer 2024, also attended the event and shared their experiences from the programme. The focus in this second year is the electrical elements, which they are “enjoying getting their teeth into”. They asked employers about available pathways into employment and shared how valuable they have found the employer site visits.
ECITB has established employer panels in all the major industrial ‘hot spot’ areas across England, Scotland and Wales where the scholarship programmes are running. Employers on these panels support the programme with the initial recruitment of the scholars and offer work placements. It enables them to talent-spot future recruits.
Daniel Stephen, Learning and Development Consultant at Stork, shared the experience and the two-way benefit gained from offering a summer placement to one of the scholars. Daniel said: “It was an excellent opportunity to meet a potential new entrant to the sectors in which we operate. During one of the busiest delivery times of the year, the additional resource also helped to support our teams. The placement brought about development prospects for some of our personnel internally to supervise, mentor and coach the scholar. Due to all of this, we would welcome the opportunity to host future placements and support their career aspirations.”
The enthusiasm shone through from the latest cohort of scholars who shared their views on what attracted them to the programme. Many are keen to go on to a role in the renewables sector but acknowledge that the skills gained from the programme are versatile and can be employed across any sector.
The scholarship contains a multi-disciplined curriculum, meaning scholars can be deployed across a wide range of engineering construction sectors when they complete the programme.
Created by the ECITB to address workforce shortages in key engineering roles, the initiative provides technical training to young engineers starting their careers in the energy sector. NESCol is one of eleven centres throughout the UK that has a 2023 cohort of ECITB scholars starting this autumn.
The scholars receive a learner allowance to develop their engineering knowledge and skills as well as an understanding of the new technologies essential to the successful delivery of net zero, including digital skills.
National Energy Skills Accelerator Project Manager at Energy Transition Zone Ltd, Lauren Braidwood, said: “Providing individuals with the technical skills required to support the rapid growth of the offshore wind sector is absolutely vital if this region is to capitalise on this massive opportunity. ETZ Ltd is delighted to support ECITB in delivering programmes such as the Wind Technician Pathway, which will equip scholars with the necessary engineering knowledge. It is encouraging to see this progressing at pace.”
Kevin Bruce, Associate Vice Principal at NESCol, said: “Energy transition is integral to the North-east economy and it’s essential to develop a workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge to embrace exciting opportunities. We have worked closely with the ECITB to create innovative scholarship programmes and it is great to see the momentum that is building.”
The panel went on to discuss other skills programmes that they can engage in, what is coming up from labour market intelligence and other skills and training that are needed across the region.