AN ARBROATH engineering training firm received the governmental stamp of approval this week with a visit from a senior Holyrood minister.
Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance MSP was at Angus Training Group Ltd. on Monday for a chance to speak to some of the engineering apprentices and staff at the growing training firm.
After speaking with the staff the minister was given a guided tour of the bustling training floor which contains dozens of machining workstations and classrooms accommodating this year’s bumper crop of future engineers.
The minister was at the Catherine Street facility at the behest of South Angus MSP Graeme Dey.
She said: “I received an invitation from the local MSP Graeme Dey who made a point of raising in a parliamentary debate the contribution and the great work of Angus Training Group.
“This year has the highest level of apprentices in 30 years. There are 67 young people here who are in the first year of an engineering apprenticeship who are enthusiastic and enthused about their future work and future study.”
According to the minister the Scottish Government places a high importance on facilities like Angus Training Group.
She said: “The Scottish Government continues to invest in record levels in the modern apprenticeships programme.
“We have a commitment every year to provide 25,000 modern apprenticeships, that’s considerably higher than when we came into office and I’m pleased that last year we broke our target with 26,427 modern apprenticeships and that last year we invested £72 million into the modern apprenticeships programme. That shows our confidence in the young people.”
She added: “There are huge opportunities both for our young men and women in wanting engineering related careers and it is absolutely imperative that we get out there and tell young people where the jobs presently are.”
Graeme Dey MSP was full of praise for Angus Training Group. He said: “This is one of the jewels in the crown of Angus.
“I’m absolutely delighted the minister came to visit Angus Training Group. This current year has the highest number of apprentices in 35 years and I understand that they are on course to do even better next year.”
Director of Angus Training Group Alan Swankie confirmed that the next semester could be even more successful.
He said: “We’ve already contacted our companies, something we don’t normally do until April but in the last 10 days we’ve had a phenomenal response from them and we’ve currently got 73 apprentices booked in for next year, but they’re not all confirmed yet.
“We are getting very close to having to close the doors and we will have to recruit another member of staff.
“It’s great considering we were sat in 2009 with five apprentices at the start of the year and we were wondering about the future of the group.”