Engineering Training Forum

After a review with the manufacturing sector in East Ayrshire, Ayrshire College, kilmarnock Campus identified key challenges that companies will face over the next 5 to 10 years. In response to identified needs, it was decided by the College and partner organisations, both public and private, to form an Engineering Training Forum (ETF). The forum was launched on the 26th February 2011 by  Dr. Peter Hughes OBE, Chief Executive of Scottish EngineeringThe ETF will specifically address three key areas for engineering, namely:


i.                    Schools engagement/apprentice recruitment

ii.                  Renewables

iii.                Partnership working


From the ETF it was decided to run a pilot training programme that would involve at least 3 schools, partner engineering companies and the College working collaboratively. The pilot would involve “recruiting” 9 young persons progressing to 5th or 6th year in secondary school.  The young persons were interviewed as prospective apprentices by college staff at their respective schools. The parents and guardians of the young persons were then invited to a company presentation and tour by the respective company where it was confirmed that all candidates completing the college course and their respective school programmes, would be guaranteed a job placement for summer and a subsequent job interview for an apprentice position. The pilot programme would involve at least one day at college on a vocational programme, PEO/SVQ Level 2, which is the foundation element of the engineering apprentice framework in Scotland. The other four days would involve school attendance where candidates would be working towards INT 2 and/or Higher awards in STEM areas allowing opportunities for Accreditation of Prior Learning across educational elements of the apprenticeship framework, i.e. computing, maths, English, technical sciences.

The impact has been considerable across all three stakeholders.

The schools have experienced renewed interest and up-take of STEM related subjects due to the positive destination being offered to young persons within their immediate community. Feedback to date from parents to schools has been very positive as has the feedback from all young people involved in this pilot.

Impact to the company is demonstrated by the provision of another source of apprentice recruitment opened up to them as well as existing traditional routes through college full time programmes. The company is also experiencing an increased level of quality with respect to the educational requirements for their operations.

The impact to the college has been increased reputation within the learning community in Kilmarnock and the wider reaches of East Ayrshire. This has been evidenced by increased quality and levels of recruitment to our various full time programmes in engineering. Companies have confirmed to the general public that they will only recruit through the colleges pilot and existing full time programmes. Other companies from the ETF have now expressed interest in adopting this recruitment approach.

Another initiative from the ETF was the production of a partnership video between Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus and GE Caledonian in order to promote schools engagement with engineering and the local opportunities now available. This video was used in conjunction with school visits and presentations by GE Caledonian female apprentices, which complimented the companies and colleges gender engagement strategy. The video can be viewed here.