An innovative new project providing welding work placements at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station has given a boost to local employers who are looking to recruit young people with the skills to work in their industry.
The programme which started in January has already resulted in 75% of the placement students securing apprenticeships within two weeks of completing the programme.
Riverside College, SSE Fiddlers Ferry and PJD Ltd have successfully developed this partnership to provide real and meaningful work experience placements in order for them to develop industry specific expertise.
The scheme initially started as an idea following College staff taking part in a ‘Back to Industry’ programme at Fiddlers Ferry to support the College’s commitment to ensuring its courses meet up to date industry standards. Pete Wilson from PJD Ltd also attended lessons at Riverside College to familiarise himself with the students and structure of the qualifications so that he could offer his expert advice to the teaching staff.
In preparation for the programme, purpose built training facilities and work bays were installed on site in the PJD Ltd and SSE working area in order to support and coach work placement students whilst at the power station.
Students were then selected for the four week placements through a recruitment process that replicated ‘real life’ including trade tests and interviews with the PJD Ltd HSE Director, Mike Mahoney and Engineer, Pete Wilson. The employers were so impressed with the high calibre of the Riverside College students and their skills and motivation that they felt confident to offer 16 placement opportunities at the site.
Jayne Smith , Head of Skills and Enterprise at Riverside College said, “We are extremely grateful to the commitment and support of PJD Ltd and SSE in helping us to develop a programme that ensures that Riverside College students have the highest level skills and experience that can help them progress into apprenticeships”.
Mike Mahoney, HSE Director at PJD Ltd said, “This is a great example of working together to give students a chance to have a meaningful work based experience and we are delighted to be working with a College that is fully committed and responsive to the needs of employers and the local community”.
Jordan Stapleton was one of the first students to benefit from this programme and said, “The opportunity of working with Peter Wilson from PJD at the Fiddler’s Ferry site has been invaluable. I’ve learnt various welding techniques and these enabled me to decide on my career path as a welder and helped me to secure an apprenticeship”.
The programme would not have been possible without the support of SSE and Dave Fellowes, SSE Process Support Manager said, “It’s great that we can offer the students some real experience to help them in their careers going forward and in so doing continue to contribute within our local community”.