Apprenticeships

How One Scottish Engineering Company is Plugging its own Skills Gap

I attended the Scottish Renewables largest ever Offshore Wind and Supply Chain conference in Aberdeen last week, which had over 700 delegates and over 50 exhibitors, and an impressive line-up of speakers who are all working hard towards making the Scottish Governments Routemap for Renewable Energy a reality by 2020.

One of the speakers was Peter Breslin, Managing Director of Steel Engineering, who really engaged the audience with his common sense approach of addressing the renewable energy skills gap, by taking action right on his own doorstep. Peter’s talk was a breath of fresh air and this is a model that surely could be upheld by others.

Here’s how one Scottish company has achieved what many others are still talking about:

TRESTA (The Renewable Energy Skills Training Academy)
TRESTA was established by Steel Engineering Limited (SEL) in September 2011 with a vision of providing an Academy capable of delivering high quality; industry recognised training to service the renewable energy sector. The vision was originally borne from SEL’s projected workforce needs however the realisation that the whole of the renewables sector was under resourced soon became clear as a result of this analysis. Further investigations showed that there was no clear Career Pathway for people working and training in the renewables sector with a great deal of confusion and cross over between differing skill sets. Consequently TRESTA was created.
Since September 2011 the Project’s Consultant Mary McLuskey has secured funding from Scottish Enterprise, Renfrewshire Council, Job Centre Plus and the support of many other organisations to get the concept moving. With the determined support of SEL’s Managing Director, Peter Breslin, TRESTA is now a reality with the newly fitted facility being formally opened in April 2012.
TRESTA will initially provide training for a range of individuals. The first cohort of 7 Modern Apprentices has started work with SEL in January, with 1 Graduate Trainee starting in March 2012. These groups represent the first of many Graduate and MA trainees for TRESTA. However, to ensure that there is a balance of age ranges and skill levels across the range of TRESTA trainees a wide spectrum of training opportunities are being developed. Working with Job Centre Plus a six week programme for unemployed individuals has been created. This programme offers introduction to the skills required across a range of job types found in the renewables sector, skill tests to help identify the best career path for each individual and alongside job seeking skills each person will be interviewed for a full time job within TRESTA. Job offers will be made to those individuals who excel during their initial training and each person will be provided with a career pathway through their new job to ensure they have every opportunity to develop high value, sustainable and transferable skills. For those individuals who are not successful TRESTA will provide the opportunity to meet with a local Recruitment Agency who will help find alternative routes to employment.
TRESTA’s training will encompass stand along, industry recognised courses to allow people to capitalise on their current skills and to add a new dimension to their CV. For these specialist courses certification will be provided by a range of Awarding Bodies recognised by the industry. A number of conversion course are being developed as are new qualifications that are being mapped out to capture cutting edge technologies and manufacturing practices. TRESTA is working in partnership with Colleges and a range of Industry partners to ensure that whatever training and development is delivered it is driven by Industry needs and all provision is firmly rooted in the qualifications structure with appropriate certification. TRESTA trainees aim to set the industry standard for the renewables sector.

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