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02/09/13 13:59

Extra engineers to meet industry demand

First Minister opens Banff and Buchan College state of the art welding centre.

The First Minister today announced the creation of 100 additional engineering places at Banff and Buchan College.

Alex Salmond said almost £1 million of extra Scottish Funding Council (SFC) investment would increase student places over the next two years as he officially opened the Fraserburgh campus’s new welding facility.

The First Minister said:

“The oil and gas industry relies on skilled and committed engineers and welders and this investment will help meet current demands on a sector that is vital for Scotland’s economic growth.

“This state of the art welding centre has been created as part of the Oil and Gas Academy that gives students the foundation for a life-long career through high quality education focussed on the skills employers need. This is an excellent example of how our colleges can respond to the opportunities closest to them, with Fraserburgh and the North East being an obvious choice for those considering a career in the energy sector.

“The significant interest in Banff and Buchan College shows that students value the opportunity to study in an area so intrinsically linked to one of our biggest sectors and to acquire the skills needed gain quality employment in the sector.”

The new facility at the college’s Fraserburgh campus, which received £500,000 funding from the SFC, will train welders at a variety of levels and provide the particular skills needed to work offshore.

This year’s students will be the first to train at the centre, which includes a virtual simulator.

Paul Sherrington, Banff and Buchan Principal, said:

“This additional investment from the Scottish Government comes at a critical and exciting time for us. Enrolments across the college are 25 per cent up compared to this time last year and are especially buoyant in engineering. We are now much better placed to meet the growing demand from learners and to address the need for skilled competent workers for the energy sector.”

Laurence Howells, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said:

“Recent evidence from the Skills and Investment Plan for Engineering shows there aren’t enough places on engineering courses in the north east of Scotland to meet current employment demands. I am delighted that we are able to respond with a near £1 million investment for the College to meet this gap over the next two years, ensuring there is a ready supply of highly-skilled engineers.”

As the Scottish Cabinet visited Fraserburgh Mr Salmond also confirmed that SFC would fund a feasibility study into new shared halls of residence being built for students at both Banff and Buchan and Aberdeen colleges as work continues on a merger of the colleges.

Notes to editors

The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) is the national, strategic body that is responsible for funding teaching and learning provision, research and other activities in Scotland's 31 colleges, 19 universities and higher education institutions. For more information visit www.sfc.ac.uk

SFC will provide £894,760 to create 100 extra engineering places at Banff and Buchan College over the next two years.