GE Caledonian recruits 13 new apprentices from Ayrshire College

Aeronautical Engineering giants GE Caledonian will take on 14 new mechanical engineering apprentices from August – with 13 of the apprentices coming from Ayrshire College.

The intake of new apprentices is made up of students on the College’s Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) – Aeronautical, HNC Aeronautical Engineering, HND Aeronautical Engineering and HND Mechanical Engineering courses, as well as the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering course.

Six of the students currently study at the College’s Kilmarnock Campus, five at Ayr and two from the College’s Skill Centre of Excellence in Irvine.

Ayrshire College works closely with employers to ensure its courses are structured to meet the skills needs of the sector – and GE Caledonian’s recruitment announcement confirms this to be the case.

Stephen McNab, GE Caledonian’s Apprentice Leader, said “The work that Ayrshire College does is absolutely second to none. It’s key to our business that we have these links. We know they’re reliable, and the candidates we get from the College are top notch.

“Ayrshire College is great at coming along and asking what our needs are, finding out if the course meets our requirements and what, if anything, could be changed. I value those interactions as the College is looking at how we can strengthen this relationship, how can we build on it and how can we move forward.”

GE Caledonian’s apprenticeships will run for three years, with Ayrshire College’s PEO course effectively eliminating the need for the first year of a traditional four year apprenticeship.

The students who have not completed the PEO will complete an accelerated version during their apprenticeship.

Stephen said “The PEO gives them the hand skills that are fundamental for any engineering business. We’re a strong believer in the PEO and we believe a lot of employers are missing an opportunity by not recruiting directly from the PEO class.”

A former apprentice who studied at Ayrshire College, Aidan McIntyre, is now a qualified Aircraft Engine Mechanic who will be working with the new recruits as a mentor.

Aidan said “When I decided I wanted to go into engineering it was the PEO for me, because I lacked the hand skills that companies like this desired. On day one I got an engineering drawing and a bit of metal and I didn’t have a clue what to do. Four years later I’m a time served aircraft engineer. That’s how important the PEO is to people that want to be apprentices.

“My role now is to guide the apprentices and make sure they’re progressing. I can hopefully pass down my experience to other apprentices. People helped me out when I started here and I love helping people so it’s good to give a little bit back.”

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