Fulton MacGregor MSP met with New College Lanarkshire apprentices to learn more about the career benefits of apprenticeships during Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
The member of Scottish Parliament for Coatbridge and Chryston visited Coatbridge-based King Communications and Security to meet with six local lads who are in various stages of an Electronic Fire & Security apprenticeship with the company, which provides integrated solutions for fire, security, networking, healthcare systems and building infrastructure.
Fulton was welcomed by Martyn King, Managing Director of King Communications & Security, and Andrew Fretwell, Vocational Programmes Manager at New College Lanarkshire, who gave him an overview of the programme, which provides practical skills, knowledge and experience to build a career in the industry.
He was then introduced to the group of apprentices, who told him about their roles and experiences on the programme.
Mr MacGregor said: “Apprenticeships are a vital part of the Scottish economy and provide a pathway towards a highly skilled, rewarding career.
“It was fantastic to meet with the group to find out how their lives are benefitting from their apprenticeship and hear about their career ambitions for the future.
“It was very positive to hear first-hand the level of training they are receiving from both New College Lanarkshire and King Communications & Security and I look forward to hearing how they progress in the future.”
Connor Shuel, 19 from Carfin, is set to join the Modern Apprenticeship programme in August after being employed on the company’s Installation Team following completion of a pre-apprenticeship programme at New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell Campus.
He said: “The training and confidence the pre-apprenticeship gave me allowed me to be a step ahead of other applicants, and luckily King Communications & Security offered me a job when I finished that.
“I felt it allowed me to have a better understanding coming into the industry and I had first-hand experience of what I would be facing.
“They are now going to put me through my Modern Apprenticeship and I am really grateful for the opportunity. I will give everything I have to this course and look forward to putting into practice the skills learned through College.”
Scott Smith, 26 from Airdrie has been working with King Communications and Security for five years after being kept on following a successful work experience placement. Scott has worked his way up after previously working in the internal build department. He is now in third year of the Modern Apprenticeship programme.
He said: “The Modern Apprenticeship appealed to me because it seems to offer better progression and would mean I would be a fully qualified engineer with plenty of experience behind me.
“I’ve learned a lot through the College which has really helped me in my job. The facilities at the College are really good and the lecturers help you understand systems that you are then using in real life.
“If anyone is considering a Modern Apprenticeship I’d tell them to go for it. It’s a good career path and really steadies you for work.”
Andrew Fretwell, Vocational Programmes Manager at NCL said: “Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for individuals to gain industry recognised qualifications, earn a salary and enhance their lives. They are the beginning of a lifelong career for the individuals who take part.
“Companies like King Communications & Security are able to fill skills gaps and see their business grow. We are immensely proud to be able to support both local businesses and individual apprentices with our training programmes.”
Martyn King, Managing Director at King Security & Communications said: “We recognised many years ago there was a skills shortage at the national level. The candidates we were receiving for open job postings were not at a high level and did not have the skills we were looking for. We decided to change tact and started to train our own through the Modern Apprenticeship programme and in-house training.
“We are now reaping the benefits of this investment in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and New College Lanarkshire.
“The apprentices will be highly skilled Fire and Security Engineers once they have completed the course.”
New College Lanarkshire offers various Foundation and Modern Apprenticeship programmes.
For more information visit: https://www.nclanarkshire.ac.uk/courses/apprenticeships-courses