Inverness plumbing, heating and renewable energy firm say apprentices are key to future of the industry
A Highland heating, plumbing and renewable energy solutions firm is pushing on with a major recruitment drive to help address skills shortage in the area
The McInnes Group, which is headquartered in Inverness, is appealing for more apprentices to help plug the gap and to enable qualified skilled workers to train and live in the Highlands.
As part of the drive, the award-winning firm is hoping to create a number of full-time plumbing and electrical positions and apprenticeships at the company.
The firm has just taken part in the Big Apprenticeship Event, which took place at Inverness Royal Academy last week, part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week organised by Developing the Young Workforce, (DYW) Inverness and Central Highlands.
More than 600 pupils from across the Highlands attended the event to learn about what apprenticeships and opportunities are on offer in the North of Scotland.
Scott Murray, commercial director at the McInnes Group said: “Apprentices are invaluable and they are the future of the industry.
“Taking part in the DYW event was a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with young people who may have an interest in taking up an apprenticeship.
“Becoming an apprentice with the McInnes Group means you will get high quality on the job training in the heating industry – skills which you will have for life and will stand you in good stead for progressing in your career.”
He added: “It is no longer the case that you must leave the Highlands to go and study or work in the central belt. There are many highly regarded businesses based in this area that are keen to take on and support apprentices.”
Mr Murray said the firm had struggled to recruit quality tradesmen and women in the region.
He added: “As a solution we work with various colleges including Inverness College, UHI and Moray College, in our training process as well as the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation. We are committed to developing a highly skilled workforce within the Highland region.”
Skills Development Scotland say there are currently more than 37,000 young people working, learning and earning as Modern Apprentices and 91% of apprentices are still in employment six months after completing their Modern Apprenticeship; and 96% of employers say former apprentices are better equipped to do their job.
The McInnes Group currently employs four apprentices who are at varying stages throughout their apprenticeships.
Two of the apprentices are currently attending college to achieve their formal qualifications whilst gaining significant experience in renewable installations, as well as embracing the latest innovative green energy practices.
The McInnes Group managing director, Lachlan McInnes, who set up the company in 2011, added: “The government has sat up and taken some notice, rolling out its Modern Apprenticeship scheme, but it’s not enough.
“To achieve economic growth – as a country we first have to possess the skills to do it. I would like to see the light shine firmly on the value apprenticeships in schools and colleges, as education is key to the prosperity of businesses in the future.”
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart said: “We need more companies to be like McInnes Group, to train young people, to fill the skills gap that exists and to recruit and retain skilled trades people in the Highlands and Islands.
“There is no doubt there should be more Government investment to help businesses and the message needs to get across loud and clear that apprenticeships are just as vital to the country’s future as university degrees.
“Certainly when I visited Inverness High School recently for a careers development event, it appeared that more pupils were attracted to apprenticeships than in the past. I wish McInnes Group well for its recruitment campaign.”
For more information on the McInnes Group or to enquire about employment opportunities go to: www.mcinnesgroup.co.uk