Courses are full

Record electrical apprentices helps fill skills gap

Fiona Harper: exceptional year

A record number of applicants have enrolled for electrical apprenticeships in a further indication that employers are seeking to train their own staff to fill the skills gap.

Some 800 apprentices and 157 adult trainees are now taking their first steps on the electrical ladder, boosting the total number in training in Scotland to 3,000. Colleges and training centres report full classrooms across the country.

The Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) and Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) oversee the SJIB electrical apprentice and adult training Programmes.

Fiona Harper, secretary of the SJIB, said: “This has been another exceptional year and it is encouraging to see a healthy pipeline of apprentices and adult trainees wanting to learn the skills required to power the electrical future that awaits us all.

“Employers should also be saluted for continuing to nurture and encourage young electrical talent and help them along the path to a highly-rewarding career.

“There remain many challenges for the construction industry, but it is heartening that the demand for electrical apprenticeships, and the willingness of employers to make them available, continues to grow.”

Anne Galbraith, CEO at SECTT, which manages training on behalf of the SJIB, said: “This is another encouraging development which contributes to the determination of the industry in Scotland to tackle the UK-wide skills shortage.

“Colleges and training centres are to be applauded for increasing capacity and offering staggered start dates to accommodate demand. They have been doing great work in helping students embrace all the modern technologies which will play such a huge part in a greener and more sustainable future.

“Equally, the quality and diversity of apprentices has been gratifyingly high, and it is particularly encouraging to see a growing cohort of female apprentices and an increase in those with a disability, making their distinct contribution to the growth of the sector.”

The new 2022 intake is the highest figure for 13 years and comes after a total of 817 new entrants to the industry were recruited in 2021 – up 35% on the 2020 intake during the height of the pandemic.

Ms Harper, who is also director of employment & skills at electrical trade association SELECT, added: “This improved intake illustrates yet again that people recognise the future is electric and also understand that their personal prospects will be brighter if they are part of a sector that is going to play a key part in all our lives.

“The industry has been concerned for some time about skills shortages as the demand for qualified electricians accelerates, and the enthusiasm and dedication of these new recruits goes a long way to easing these fears and suggesting that there is a real appetite to learn leading edge skills.”

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