Training Group bucks the trend

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AN ARBROATH training group is bucking the current recessionary trend and is doing so well that it has had to take on an additional member of staff.

Angus Training Group Ltd., Catherine Street, is a long established, employer-led training company which plays a key role in the delivery of nationally accredited training to the industries of Tayside.

It comprises a number of companies involved in many aspects of manufacturing which have combined for training purposes to give a high standard of industrial training.

Group director Alan Swankie explained that the upturn over the last three years has followed a period during which the number of apprentices under training fell to as low as 16. He explained that in a recession the first thing to suffer is training budgets as apprentices are an investment for three or four years down the line.

However, he expects 66 apprentices to start their first-year training in August and felt it was necessary to add to the staff to be able to properly cater for the additional numbers.

A new fitter/maintenance instructor, George Jackson, started this week and is initially being mentored by colleague Drew Nairn.

Mr Swankie explained: “The current upsurge in engineering has followed years of shortfall when companies did not recruit.

“Over the last three years our numbers have gone up considerably from a very bad year in 2009 when we had only 16 apprentices. The following year the number doubled to 32, this year we have 45 and we are expecting about 65 or 66 to start in August.

“It is very encouraging to see employers offering apprenticeships. Our situation is helped, I think, by the fact that university courses nowadays are quite expensive so a lot of people are thinking about apprenticeships as an alternative route into industry.”

He continued: “It is a successful route in many cases. In the years that I have been involved in engineering training many former apprentices have gone on to take up high positions in various companies.

“I would like to think that the service we are providing for our member companies also has a bearing on the numbers achieving promoted posts. Our ‘product’ going out at the end of first year determines what you get the following year. If the company is satisfied with what it is getting, hopefully that encourages them to recruit and we like to feel that we are providing a good service.

“Recently we have expanded into Aberdeen and we now take apprentices from five companies in that city so they deserve credit for sending their apprentices down to Arbroath for their first year.”