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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News

Windfarm cash funds 20 apprenticeships

Recruitment events are taking place in East Ayrshire for 20 community funded apprenticeships in a pioneering £1.5 million investment.

The roles are with Cumnock based group Emergency One, the UK’s leading manufacturer of specialist fire and rescue service appliances.

An initiative between the 9CC Group, the charitable organisation co-ordinating windfarm benefit funds across nine East Ayrshire communities, East Ayrshire Local Employability Partnership and Emergency One has provided more than £1.5 million funding over four years for 20 trade apprentices.

The employment opportunities are part of the 9CC Group’s commitment to deliver lasting legacy benefits to their former coal mining communities. Community benefit fund investment from Brockwell Energy, has allowed the Strategic Area Fund Pilot to financially support the recruitment at Emergency One.

Careers days are being held at 12:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) at Doon Academy, Thursday 12:30pm at Burns Academy and in the first week of July at Emergency One to select candidates and offer placements for school leavers.

Ayrshire College will be the training provider, working with Emergency One, to offer qualifications covering engineering, coachbuilding, electrical, fitting, welding and spray painting.

The four-year course, beginning in August, is the first Ayrshire partnership using windfarm community benefit money to provide local jobs through employability schemes. Successful candidates must live in the Cumnock and Doon Valley area of East Ayrshire.

Stephen McCarron, chief officer of the 9CC Group said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to deliver a lasting legacy for our communities by funding local employment and creating career opportunities for our young people.

“We are delighted to be able to use £120,000 of the community benefit funding from Brockwell Energy to deliver part of our strategic objectives and help ensure that our area is one where people want to live, work and play.”

Chester Smith, director of Emergency One, said:

“The grant funding from the 9CC Group will support the recruitment of 20 apprentices and continues our strong tradition of recruiting and training trade apprentices from the local community.

“They will learn traditional trades like mechanical fitting, coachbuilding, welding, spray painting and auto electrical, with many of them also trained in the low-carbon skills sector and supporting our drive towards Net Zero. The investment also covers equipment, including PPE, and key employment support for the duration of their four-year apprenticeships.

“As producers of the world’s first fully electric pumping appliance, we want to continue our innovation and develop new skills within the local community. We see the apprentice programme as having a positive impact on our business, helping to strengthen our skills base and ensure we continue to produce the very highest quality fire appliances available anywhere in the world."

David McDowall, Head of Economic Growth at East Ayrshire Council said:

“The best way to make lasting change with benefits for everyone in our communities is to work with people, local businesses and education to create positive opportunities which build on the solid foundations of existing organisations and partnerships.

“Working together and building on existing expertise can grow and strengthen our local economy, and anything we do now to invest in our young people will only enhance future prospects for individuals, our economy and local prosperity.

“For years the Cumnock and Doon Valley areas have served the whole country as an energy powerhouse, first with coal, and now with wind powered electricity. It’s great to see that local people are now reaping some of the benefits of this contribution to the national economy with an injection of local funding.”

Ian Burgoyne, Joint Chair of the East Ayrshire Local Employability Partnership (EALEP) said:

“We’re really excited to be supporting 9CC Group and Emergency One with this innovative Community Wealth Building initiative.

“This project is a great example of how the EALEP can work with schools, employers and communities to create fantastic opportunities. We look forward to building on our strong partnership links to help these young people, their chosen industry, and the communities they come from to thrive and prosper.”

Windfarm developers Brockwell have provided upfront community funding of £600k for the 9CC Group, ahead of the first turbine being installed at their North Kyle site, which includes £120k for the local apprenticeship initiative.

Iain Cockburn, CFO of Brockwell Energy, said:

“The 9CC Group have done a great job in working with EAC and Emergency One to help coordinate and underwrite this initiative using £120,000 of committed windfarm funding to obtain a multiple of that investment through match funding. This initiative will provide long term legacy benefits for their communities and is a good example of how windfarm funding commitments can be coordinated and planned to make a real difference to communities.”


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