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Scots apprentices in contest

Electronic fire and security apprentices nearing the end of their training have shown their skills in a three-day competition at New College Lanarkshire. Some 40 third-year Modern Apprentices took part in the Security Skills Challenge at NCL’s Kirkintilloch Campus in East Dumbartonshire.

The main atrium had a row of ten purpose-built competition booths where trainees had to complete a six-hour challenge to install a fire or security alarm. The event, done with security equipment firms CSL, Dahua and Orisec, coincided with Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019. Also there were Richard Jenkins, Chief Executive of the National Security Inspectorate (NSI); Mike Reddington, chief exec of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA); Connelly Security Systems, Chubb, Border Safeguard, EFT Systems and Kings Security.

The challenge was designed as a real-life scenario in which students install and commission either an alarm to the relevant British and European standards. Four gained sponsored spots at IFSEC International in London in June to compete against the best in the UK in the annual Engineers of Tomorrow competition. They were:

Lee Scobbie, who works for Johnson Controls in Uddingston;
Stephen Gray, Fortress Security in Kilmarnock;
Michael Battersby, Palmaris in Coatbridge;
Ryan Gibb, Tyger Security in Motherwell.

NCL trains around 200 Modern Apprentices and 40 students and pre-apprentices, besides offering upskilling for workers in the industry. David Scott, Curriculum and Quality Leader, said: “The apprentices put on an amazing spectacle. Year on year, the standard of the apprentices’ work continues to improve. The Electronic Fire and Security team organised an amazing event, and I am proud to be part of such a hard-working team of professionals.

“Without the continued support from our partners – BSIA, NSI, CSL, Dahua and Orisec – events such as this just wouldn’t be possible, so I’d like to say a big thank you to all the sponsors who made the event such a success.”

Simon Banks, Group Managing Director of signalling product company CSL, said: “I came to the same event last year at the College’s Motherwell Campus and that was good, but the set-up in Kirkintilloch has really raised the game. It’s so modern and practical. These engineers are ‘oven-ready’ when they go to the workplace because they’ve had all the knocks and spoils of a real environment.

“They’re not doing installations on to chipboard – they’re installing on to plasterboard and putting the cables down the back. Those sorts of educations are invaluable, and it’s great to see such a realistic environment.”

Alan Wheelan, Managing Director of Selkirk-based Border Safeguard, has gone from apprentice to company director; he recently enrolled one of his Modern Apprentices for the first time in a course at NCL. He said: “For us to send a young guy up to Kirkintilloch on his own, he’s finding he’s getting added value – we feel that it’s developing his life skills. He’s not just learning what we want to teach him, he’s bringing back to our business things that he’s learning from other engineers and their experience as well as what he’s being taught at the College.”


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