Nicola Sturgeon visited Falkirk’s Forth Valley College campus earlier today to launch the country’s new Apprentice Network.
FVC’s state-of-the-art engineering facilities were the perfect backdrop for the First Minister to announce the new network – facilitated by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) – which aims to have an apprenticeship ambassador within every high school in Scotland by Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2020.
FVC Principal Dr Ken Thomson welcomed the Mrs Sturgeon – on the first day of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019 – to the campus where she met two former graduate apprentices and a group of 19 first year women Engineering MAs, who make up the largest intake of female engineers FVC has ever enrolled.
FVC now boasts a total of 30 female Engineering MAs currently learning their trade at the Falkirk campus and moves are also underway for FVC to develop a nationwide contact network for women apprentices in the engineering sector.
The First Minister said: “Creating this network of apprentices who can share their experiences with others will help inspire the next generation. We know that work-based learning delivers for individuals, employers and the Scottish economy.
“Through the network, apprentices are going to have the chance to inspire young people to follow their example and become the apprentices of tomorrow. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to launch the network at Forth Valley College, and to see first-hand the excellent work being done to encourage more young women to consider careers in fields such as engineering.”
Dr Thomson said: “We are fully behind the First Minister’s launch of the Scotland’s Apprentice Network and feel this is a very positive initiative in terms of promoting apprenticeships to young people across Scotland.
“Our event also kicked off discussions around our own network for female engineers, something we are hoping to develop in partnership with industry in order to champion the achievements of female engineers and highlight opportunities available.
“We currently have our largest ever intake of women in this sector and during the visit we were able to introduce the First Minister to our 19 first year female MAs, in addition to some former students.
“We are very proud of our high number of female engineers and we know that encouraging women into STEM subjects is also something very close to the First Minister’s heart. I am sure her visit will have inspired these students even more and also encourage more young women into engineering and other STEM subjects.”