Today, Stuart McMillan MSP visited Dales Marine’s Garvel Clyde Dock to meet local apprentices as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which runs every year from 4-8th March.
The Greenock and Inverclyde MSP met Adam James, Reece Wolfenden, Lee McConachie and Robbie Kincaid during his visit, who gave an insight into how they ended up becoming an apprentice with the Greenock-based company, and what they have gained from the apprenticeship.
According to Skills Development Scotland (SDS), as of 28 December 2018 there were 496 apprentices in training in Inverclyde, and from 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2018 SDS supported 253 Modern Apprenticeship starts.
Commenting, Mr McMillan said:
“Scottish Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity for me to meet local apprentices working with Inverclyde businesses to see both the positive impact the programmes have had on them as individuals, but also how the businesses themselves have benefitted.
“Business is booming at Dales Marine, with 53 vessels having docked there last year, so having apprentices join their relatively small operation of around 40 employees is crucial to their ability to service as many ships as they currently do.
“Between the four apprentices, they explained their reasons for seeking an apprenticeship with Dales Marine. It was particularly interesting to learn that Lee’s grandfather worked alongside my father in the shipyards, while another apprentice explained that his wife, who works for BAE Systems, also acquired her position through an apprenticeship scheme.
“SDS are an asset in the way they’ve assisted different sectors and industries in acquiring new blood for their workforces, but also how they’ve helped open up the career opportunities available to young people across Scotland and here in Inverclyde. The Modern Apprenticeship achievement rate of 80% in Inverclyde is testament to that.
“I encourage any young person considering an apprenticeship to go along to Inverclyde Apprenticeship Careers Fair on Wednesday in the Greenock Town Hall between 10am and 2.30pm to find out more about local apprenticeship opportunities.”
Billy Pollock, Dales Marine’s Operations Manager who accompanied the local MSP on his visit, added:
“Shipbuilding and ship repair personnel are classed as a dying breed in Scotland. We need to invest in our young people to gain the skills required to continue in our busy ship repair business.”
Mr Pollock indicated that apprentices contribute massively to Dales Marine’s operations, and that the company will continue to seek apprentices to manage their workload at Garvel Clyde Dry Dock.