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A scholarship to equip the next generation of engineers for careers in industry has been launched in Shetland at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

The ECITB scholarship will provide technical training for new starters in mechanical and electrical engineering technician pathways to help create a pipeline of talented new entrants. The scholars get a grounding in core engineering knowledge and skills as well as an understanding of new technologies, and a foundation in digital skills through the new ECITB digital passport.

Created by Government skills body the ECITB to address workforce shortages in key engineering construction roles, scholars get a £100-week grant to develop their engineering knowledge and skills and achieve industry standard qualifications.

Eight electrical and eight mechanical maintenance technicians will make up the first cohort of ECITB Scholars starting at the UHI in September.

Daniel Gear, ECITB Board Member and General Manager for Peterson Shetland Ltd, welcomed the launch of the new scholarship programme and said local employers were already taking an interest.

“The timing of this scholarship programme couldn’t be better for industry as the renewables, marine, oil & gas, and space sectors in Shetland face a booming pipeline of projects over the coming years,” he said.

“As a result there is ever-growing demand for the type of skills that this programme will deliver, which is unsurprisingly piquing the interest of local employers across these key sectors.

“By meeting the cost of the first two years of training through the scholarship programme, there will be a lower financial burden for employers who subsequently take on the technician scholars, which offers the added benefit of pre-skilling new hires into local industry,” added Daniel.

Sophie Anderson, ECITB Account Manager in Scotland, said: “I am really pleased we have joined forces with UHI to offer our scholarship for the first time in Shetland. This is a very exciting development to support industry locally where a number of important energy projects are either underway or planned in the area.

“Growing skills shortages and the need to find and retain engineers are the most pressing challenges facing the engineering construction industry both in Shetland and across Scotland and the rest of the UK. We have worked closely with employers in both the oil and gas and renewables sectors to ensure the programme develops the skills which are in demand in Shetland and are key to successful delivery of the energy transition.”

L to R: Howie Thomson, Senior Lecturer Engineering, UHI Shetland; Sophie Anderson, ECITB Account Manager, Scotland; Prof. Jane Lewis, Principal, UHI Shetland; Daniel Gear, ECITB Board member and Peterson General Manager

Jane Lewis, Principal of UHI Shetland says: “UHI Shetland are delighted to work with ECITB to offer these new technical scholarships, a first for the Isles. Supporting Shetland and local energy and renewable projects with training and skills is of great importance to us, and we look forward to working with ECITB and local businesses delivering these scholarships.”

The launch of the Shetland scholarship programme comes just weeks after the ECITB announced a similar scholarship programme in Aberdeen, aimed at equipping the next generation of engineers for the energy transition. Working with the Energy Transition Zone (ETZ), 10 wind turbine technicians and 12 energy transfer technicians will make up the first cohort of ECITB Scholars starting at NESCol in September.

Find out more about the ECITB Scholarship

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