By Islay McColl
The new school term brings an exciting opportunity for 13 senior pupils involved in a new learning initiative with shipbuilding firm BAE Systems.
The pupils, selected from high schools across West Dunbartonshire, spend part of their week attending West College Scotland to study a Level 5 National Progression Award in partnership with BAE Systems.
This innovative hybrid education model will allow the young people to get a vital first step on the career ladder by receiving job-specific training in addition to their regular school studies.
The pilot programme developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with BAE Systems and SQA is due to be run over the current academic year. The programme will support learners to careers explore engineering and progression to the employers own Modern Apprenticeship recruitment plans.
A BAE Systems-built Naval vessel passing Dumbarton Rock.
.West Dunbartonshire Council’s Education Services are delighted to work with a major employer in the area to create career opportunities for young people.
Councillor Clare Steel, Convener of Education Services, said: “This ground-breaking project exemplifies our commitment to providing a diverse range of education options that plays to the strengths of individual pupils.
“Equipping our young people with practical skills, delivered in partnership with one of the biggest employers in our area, will prove a major advantage that paves the way for success in a competitive employment market.”
Kobi McPhail, 16, a pupil of Vale of Leven Academy said: “I’m interested in welding, ship building and engineering so to get that opportunity to learn skills directly related to that gives me a great early start that I hope will provide a natural progression into a full-time job with BAE Systems.
“The school suggested that I do it because I’m good at hands-on work, whether that’s art, woodwork or construction.
“It’s great that the schools and BAE Systems are working together on a course like this because it has given me a great opportunity to make a big difference to my life.”
Moses Falana, 16, a pupil at Clydebank High School, said: “It’s a good opportunity to get involved with a company as big as BAE Systems so I was really keen to put myself forward for the apprenticeship.
“The chance to get a head start on my training will give me an edge when it comes to going for a job after I leave school. It’s not something that comes along all the time so I didn’t want to miss such a great chance to make a good early start in life.”
Phil Brown Head of Early Careers and Skills – Naval Ships, said: “We’re thrilled to be part of this pilot and we are looking forward to welcoming the students to our facilities in Glasgow. We believe that this programme in particular will provide a unique opportunity, working alongside our experienced and talented tradespeople, to work on the latest generation Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy and ignite a desire in the students to work on such an important and exciting shipbuild programme. Thanks to all the partners that helped to bring this together so quickly.”
Picture: The chosen pupils pictured with Council staff and (right) Michelle McGinty, Deputy leader of the Labour Council in West Dunbartonshire.