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Inspiring a new generation

A new video from SELECT celebrates the rise in women applying to become electrical apprentices

SELECT has released a new video welcoming a small but significant upturn in the number of young women who are now choosing to undertake apprenticeships as electricians.

Released to coincide with Scottish Apprenticeship Week, the film comes as new figures show that 13 females applied to be electrical apprentices in 2019-2020, compared to seven in 2018-2019. This increase in female applicants overall in 2019/2020 saw 70% of those applying being taken on to the Electrical Installation Modern Apprenticeship.

Apprentice Nieve

To mark the milestone, SELECT commissioned a short film, The Power of Apprenticeships, which features an interview with Neave Brownlie, an apprentice at Member company TClarke. The 21-year-old trainee says: “I finished school and could have gone to uni, but I preferred the idea of being paid while I was learning to become a qualified electrician.

“I’m enjoying it; you’re never left alone on site, there’s always someone there supporting you and making sure you are safe. I’m treated like a daughter or a sister and everyone I’ve worked with has been lovely.

“The really exciting thing is the opportunity to travel the world once I have completed my apprenticeship and become a qualified electrician.”

The Power of Apprenticeships also features another TClarke employee, Elyse McBride, a qualified electrician who is now office-based and training to become a quantity surveyor.

Elyse – a former SJIB Apprentice of the Year finalist in the SELECT Awards – said: “Completing an apprenticeship as an electrician was fundamental to me moving into a managerial role. There are any number of different paths that can be followed as a qualified electrician, and the career world is your oyster.” Filmed at the company’s offices in Falkirk, and now available to view on SELECT’s YouTube channel, the video also features a contribution from TClarke Scotland Managing Director Gary Jackson.

Gary Jackson, TClarke Scotland Managing Director

He says: “Apprenticeships are important to the industry to keep developing a new skill base.

“It’s a busy market and there’s a low availability of skills, so as a prominent leader in apprenticeships, we feel that it’s an important thing to keep doing.”

The video was produced in partnership with the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and Unite the Union.

Fiona Harper, Director of Employment and Skills at SELECT, said: “This rise in female applicants to become apprentices is excellent news, particularly as it came during Scottish Apprenticeship Week itself.

“An electrical apprenticeship for a young woman, just as for everyone else, is a life-changing experience which can open many doors, not only to further career progression and global travel, but also to professional regard and life fulfilment.”

Four female candidates recently took part in a pre-application course at West College Scotland, Paisley Campus, with three of them now undertaking a work trial with an electrical company. Fiona, who is also The Secretary of the SJIB, added: “There is a world of opportunity for young women in the electrical sector.

“With this film we hope that we can encourage many more of them, currently in school or college, to consider an electrical apprenticeship as a serious career option for their future.”

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