Nairn Firm Wins at Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Friday November 24 2017

Pictured: Andrew MacDonald with apprentices Kenneth Murdoch, Connor Brown and Skills Development Scotland chairman John F McClelland CBE.

Nairn-based Boiler and Valve Engineering Ltd has been named Micro Employer of the Year at the 2017 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

The specialist engineering firm has recruited two engineering apprentices to its five-strong workforce since forming 18 months ago and both are studying towards a qualification at Inverness College UHI as part of its modern apprenticeship programme.

Second year apprentice Kenneth Murdoch has been with the firm since the outset and attends Inverness College UHI one day per week, studying for an HNC in Engineering Systems.

Connor Brown is a first-year apprentice who joined the firm this year.

He attends Inverness College UHI two days per week and is studying towards an SVQ2 in Performing Engineering Operations.

Boiler and Valve Engineering Ltd, which specialises in industrial steam and hot water boilers for major distilleries and public-sector organisations, was nominated by the university in recognition of its strong commitment to the apprenticeship scheme and the belief in the value they bring to a company.

The awards took place at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday 16th November.

Andrew MacDonald, managing director for Boiler and Valve Engineering Ltd, believes apprentices bring energy and enthusiasm that can only benefit his business, which provides maintenance services for major distilleries and public-sector organisations across Scotland.

Andrew said:

“Our investment in our apprentices is the key to growing the business well and in a sustainable way.

“We see them as being very much part of the company’s future.

“For me, apprenticeships are all about giving people opportunities, giving them the training they need now and helping them to carry on developing in ways that work best for everyone.

“It’s also good to be providing employment in the local community.

“Inverness College UHI has been a tremendous support from the outset and I can’t thank its Business Solutions team enough for nominating us.

“Winning this award was a complete surprise and I’m overjoyed – I’m just delighted our apprentices were there on the night to share in this celebration.”

In nominating the company, Kate Ellistone, Business Solutions Co-ordinator at Inverness College UHI, said:

“For such a small and young company their foresight and commitment to developing a strong ongoing apprenticeship programme has been outstanding.

“The company has given amazing opportunities to its apprentices who are learning specialist skills and will become integral to the business moving forward.”

Inverness College UHI also nominated the BSW Timber Group in the Large Employer category.

The university currently provides training and education to 13 of its engineering apprentices at sites in Fort William and Boat of Garten.

BSW Timer picked up a finalist prize in the highly competitive category which was won by BAE Systems. Other finalists included Arnold Clark and Edinburgh-based engineering firm Leonardo.

Tony Lockley, group learning and development manager for BSW Timber, sees apprentices as vital to its future and a core part of succession planning.

Tony said:

“We feel we are training our own ‘ready built’ people who are encouraged to get their qualifications and we offer good quality jobs in rural areas, which are sometimes challenging to find.”

BSW Timber has 510 employees and 19 apprentices in Scotland.

Georgina Parker, Director of Business Development at Inverness College UHI, said:

“The team and I were thrilled for Andy and his colleagues.

“Our Business Solutions team supports a wide range of employers to recruit and train Modern Apprentices and it’s wonderful that both Boiler and Valve Engineering and BSW have been recognised as exemplary employers in developing their workforce.”

The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in partnership with Arnold Clark.

Kate Hutton, Skills Development Scotland Director of National Training Programmes, said:

“Boiler and Valve Engineering has shown tremendous support for its apprentices and determination to develop its workforce’s skills.

“This commitment from any employer is to be commended but the judges found it particularly impressive in a small business which is providing work based learning and employment in a rural community.

“It highlights the value and importance of people having the right skills in the right place.”



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