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6th Oct 2017

Investing in the engineering sector

Claire Craig

A NEW initiative is aiming to address the skills in the engineering sector and help to develop a labour pool to support the local industry.

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has partnered with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and Lisburn-based employers Fabrite, Spence Engineering, Spanwall, KME Steelworks and Environmental Fabrications to recruit and train engineers for the welding and fabrication industry.

The participating companies deliver a range of specialist services, ranging from light façade work, through to heavy plate and structural steelwork.

The three-year fast track Engineering and Fabrication Apprenticeship course is aimed at anyone aged 16 or over interested in a career in engineering including school leavers or people looking for a career change. No experience is necessary as training will be provided and candidates will receive a wage and be matched to an employer. SERC is currently recruiting applicants for the programme and is encouraging anyone interested in a career in engineering to apply.

The first year of the programme will be spent full time in college where candidates will complete a Level 2 qualification in fabrication and welding.

In years two and three, candidates will complete the Level 3 qualification through day release to their employer and spend four days a week in the workplace gaining hands on experience.

On successful completion of the training, students will gain an industry recognised qualification and enhanced employment prospects to help them pursue a career in engineering.

SERC head of computing and engineering Trevor Breadon said: “The course has been introduced amid the increasing demand for welders and fabricators in Northern Ireland.

As an accredited welding training centre, we have the latest welding and fabrication equipment required to train the next generation of engineers and I would urge anyone who is interested in a career in engineering to apply.

“The aim of the programme is to help match the skills of the workforce with the bespoke skills employers need.

The partnership is a powerful demonstration of how the further education, government and private sector can work together for the benefit of the local economy and respond quickly to design a bespoke programme to fill a skills gap.

SERC is committed to working with employers to ensure they have the skilled workforce they need, both now and for the future.”

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