Developing Ayrshire’s young workforce

The apprentices at GE Engineering.
The apprentices at GE Engineering.

GE Caledonian and Ayrshire College engineering staff recently celebrated being Highly Commended for an Employer Engagement Award by the College Development Network.

This recognised the creative approaches the College has taken to engaging with employers, in particular an innovative pre-apprenticeship engineering programme which helps young people gain vital on-the-job experience. Building on the success of this programme, GE Caledonian worked with the College to create a bespoke course to meet its needs, and the company now recruits apprentices only from Ayrshire College.

Going further, the College and GE Caledonian created a sector-leading schools programme where fifth and sixth year pupils attend the College on a day release programme to undertake key elements of the pre-apprenticeship programme, and continue with science and technology subjects at school.

Ged Freel, Curriculum Leader for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Ayrshire College said: “Ayrshire College is delighted to continue this successful partnership, which benefits both our students and our partner GE Caledonian. This initiative allows our students to see a clear path from the College to a career in Engineering, which gives them motivation and focus. To be formally recognised with an award for our partnership working is very welcome.”

Heather Dunk, Principal of Ayrshire College said: “Making a positive difference to our local communities by working with our industry partners is at the heart of our employer engagement activities. This exciting partnership provides local young people with the opportunity to gain first class training within a global organisation, right here in Ayrshire. This award is a fine recognition for the hard work of everyone involved in the partnership.”

Laura Robertson, Apprentice Co-Ordinator with GE Caledonian said: “The Engineering Department at Ayrshire College works hard to understand the needs of the industry and are putting measures in place to ensure the College is at the cutting edge of technology. We have developed a close relationship with the College during the past couple of years, evident in the open and honest communication pathway we have created to improve and build on our students’ learning experience. Their input has helped us implement improvements at GE Caledonian related to our SVQ level 3 training and assessing, which has been very beneficial. Staff in the College’s Engineering Department are extremely knowledgeable about the industry, which is crucial to us and other companies who work with the College.”