Energy skills hub offers Fife pupils pathway into industry

Kirkcaldy and Glenwood High pupils who took part in the Fife Energy Skills Hub initiative.
Kirkcaldy and Glenwood High pupils who took part in the Fife Energy Skills Hub initiative.

A pilot project offering senior school students in Fife an insight into the energy industry has been hailed a success.

The Fife Energy Skills Hub saw 27 pupils from two schools working with energy sector companies and lecturers from Fife College to find out more about the skills required to work in the industry.

Pupils from Glenwood High in Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy High took part in the innovative programme, graduating at a ceremony in Kirkcaldy last week.

The programme is now set to be rolled out to more schools across the Kingdom.

Jane Allan, sector manager at Energy Skills Scotland, part of Skills Development Scotland who funded and developed the project, said: “The students who have taken part in this initiative are to be congratulated for their hard work and efforts, but so too are the employers who have played a key role in its development.

“The value of the Fife Skills Hub lies in its ability to bring together schools, pupils and their parents, employers and the wider energy industry to create a pathway for young people as they consider their future career.”

Among the students graduating was Kirkcaldy High School’s Kyle Martin.

He said: “I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about the industry and the employer mentors have really helped us with things such as writing CVs.

“Before I did this, I wasn’t thinking about a career in the energy sector, but now I’m definitely considering it.”

Glenwood High School pupil Liam McWatt added: “We’ve gained some knowledge about what the real world of work is like. Going to college gave us practical experience of what it’s like doing a real job.

“Having done this, working in the energy sector is something I’d think about in the future.”

Crane, lifting and hydraulics firm Sparrows was one of the employers involved in the project.

Brendan Forbes, the firm’s global head of engineering services, presented students with their graduation certificates.

Brendan said: “We need the lifeblood of new people constantly coming into the company at both apprentice level and graduate level, so this offers us great exposure and a chance to tell young people about the opportunities that exist.

“For a relatively small investment, it also gives us the chance to give something back, and it’s rewarding to see how much the young people have taken away from their experience.”

Students were also congratulated by Nils Koren, director for business development at personnel and training firm Datch Offshore, who also took part in the initiative.

He said: “This offers the chance to identify people with talent at an early stage who might have an interest in working in the industry.

“A lot of people with key skills are retiring at the moment and unless we do something now to build those skills up, the problems as a result are going to continue to grow.

“So it’s important that young people see this as an opportunity, that they have a clear idea of what they want to do, and what it is that employers are looking for.”

The hub was coordinated and delivered by education initiative Your Future in Energy.

Managing director Tom Clark said: “In the energy industry we hear a great deal about a shortage of skills, so anything that can boost the knowledge and transferable skills of our young people has real potential.

“There are also many companies in this sector who remain confident about the future and who are investing in skills now. It’s a global industry and many opportunities exist.”