Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share

Angus Training Group Seeing Positive Signs for Engineering Sector

5 September 2011 

Alan Swankie has worked at Angus Training Group (ATG) since 1978 and has witnessed the effects of boom periods and recessions in that time.

This year the Arbroath firm has 45 new apprentices on its books, all of whom have secured full-time employment with engineering firms. Just two years ago, the company started its training programme with only five youngsters and that rose to just 15 by the end of the year.

Mr Swankie said the turnaround was indicative of an upsurge in the engineering sector and showed that more school leavers were now looking to go straight into employment rather than university or college.

"There have been problems with the numbers coming to do modern apprenticeships over the last couple of years and it is great to see those now going up," he said."We have 140 in total, spread out over the four-year period of their apprenticeship, but 45 that are starting out their first year with us."We are always governed by how the industry is performing and obviously the number of apprentices we have in is linked to the amount of jobs that are out there."

ATG takes applications from potential apprentices and then matches them up with employers. The company then trains the youngsters in basic engineering skills for a full year, before they go on for further training at college and finally a year of on-the-job learning.

Mr Swankie, who has been the director of ATG since 2007, said each year's intake is closely bonded to how the engineering sector is performing."You can see the peaks and troughs over the years," he said. "This year is looking good but two years ago was the worst year that we have ever had." "When you are governed by the industry it is difficult to predict what the next year will bring, but we are certainly very pleased with the numbers we have had in this year."It seems to be a case that a lot of them are now shying away from being dumped into college courses or going to university, when they can go straight to work."

ATG has around 40 companies on its books and this year placed apprentices with new client firms including Atlas Copco, David Ritchie (Implements) Ltd, Don & Low Ltd, Finesse Control Systems Ltd, Intervention Rentals, JD Cooling Systems Ltd, National Oilwell Varco Portable Power (Altens) and Ross & Bonnyman Ltd.

The Skills Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (SEMTA) oversees modern apprenticeships in engineering and awards qualifications. To reach the level required, each trainee is given thorough and intensive training in the basic engineering skills. The training follows the exacting standards laid down by SEMTA and on successful completion an apprentice will gain a Level II Scottish Vocational Qualification.

ATG held its annual awards ceremony last month, recognising the achievements of the last group of trainees before their return to employers. The awards were sponsored by Arbroath Rotary and the Arbroath Guildry and saw Kevin Davidson of National Oilwell Varco voted Apprentice of the Year.