An air of confidence in Scotland's electrical sector has led to the fifth year-on-year increase in the number of apprentices attracted to the industry, according to SELECT, the industry's campaigning trade body.
A combination of greater employment opportunities, and increased optimism regarding future employability has meant a 6% increase in electrical apprenticeship numbers, with 750 people signed up to begin apprenticeships or adult training schemes run by the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) this year.
This rise in apprenticeship numbers – a key target of the Scottish Government, as well as Skills Development Scotland (SDS) – continues the steady upwards trend since the 2007-2008 recession. The increases in the electrical industry have outpaced apprenticeship numbers in comparable trades, such as plumbers or joinery apprenticeships.
Anne Galbraith, Chief Executive of SECTT, said: “At the pre-recession peak, we were training more than 900 new apprentices yearly, some of whom were placed with SELECT’s member companies, and going on to become the skilled tradesmen of the future.
“The encouraging yearly increases have brought us to the point where new apprentices are catching up with the natural wastage of those retiring, moving on, or leaving the UK. Electrical apprenticeships from Scotland are recognised throughout the world as some of the most in-depth professional training available.”
Of the new apprentices, 136 are adult trainees - many who have previously worked in the construction industry, but have no formal qualifications. They will join 2700 apprentices over the three stages of training, at one of the 20 approved centres that run from Shetland to the Borders.
SECTT is a non-profit making organisation that is concerned only with the training of apprentices within the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) apprenticeship scheme. The SJIB training scheme is the only industry approved training scheme for electrical contracting apprenticeships in Scotland.
Anne Galbraith said: “Unlike commercial training providers, money is not our god. We work with the excellent support of SELECT to supply the best service, and most rigorous training, and provide the country with the finest quality electricians.”