Shipbuilding brings apprenticeships

According to RDA Scottish Enterprise, work on BAE Systems’ £3bn aircraft carrier project could result in the recruitment of 2,000 engineering Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland.

To support the planned upsurge in shipbuilding activity on the Clyde and at Rosyth, Scottish Enterprise has launched a new Scottish Marine Technologies Training Project. The project is designed to bring together private and public sectors, to maximise future skills and training opportunities in the industry.

‘Currently there are around 300 apprentices in the country’s shipyards and this figure will rise steadily as around 150 new openings are created ever year to cope with the increased volume of work,’ said Scottish Enterprise’s skills director, Charlene O’Connor.

Shipbuilding and ship repair directly employs over 7,000 people in Scotland, 24 per cent of the UK workforce, and generates £410m into the Scottish economy. It supports 100 firms directly and over 300 more in the supply chain.

‘Interestingly only around 10 per cent of the value of a modern warship is contained in the physical hull and the real value is in the technology that enables the ship to operate,’ said O’ Connor.

‘These apprenticeships are knowledge intensive high tech training programmes that will equip our young people to be the finest most advanced shipbuilders in the world.’

O’Connor said that combined with Scotland’s academic strengths in engineering these new Modern Apprentices would provide the skills base for the industry to effectively compete in the modern marketplace.

‘This is a niche market for which we are developing a core skilled workforce as good as any in the world. With the training we are supporting the industry will be well placed to successfully bid for more work in the global marketplace in the future,’ she said.