Now is the perfect time for Inverness youngsters to move into the construction industry, according to Highland councillor Alasdair Christie.
The Construction Industry Training Board, which has supported 48 technical apprentices over the past four years, has announced details of six new apprentice training opportunities.
Mr Christie, chairman of Highland council’s education, children and adult services committee, said: “These apprenticeship opportunities are a fantastic opening for young people in the Highlands, including girls.
“Highland Council welcomes these modern apprenticeship vacancies with key Highland companies as this aligns with our commitment to work to ensure that every 16-19-year-old seeking employment has the opportunity to access a modern apprenticeship or further training in the Highlands.”
One teenager who has already benefited from the scheme is Sean Melville, a former Inverness Royal Academy pupil who is training as a modern apprentice with Morgan Sindall.
The 18-year-old from Inverness believes the opportunity has allowed him to get more hands-on experience.
He said: “Unlike full-time college or university, my learning is focused purely on what I am going to need as an engineer.
“I also believe that I am learning a lot more by putting my learning into practice and it is a lot easier to take in than just reading a sheet of paper.
“Another winning point for me is that fact that the whole time I am learning I am gaining experience in my role which is attractive to future employers.”
Among the available positions are civil engineering technicians at Morrison Construction in Inverness, GF Job at Nairn and Pat Munro at Alness.
Inverness’s Graham Construction is also looking for technicians in construction management and architectural technology.
CITB apprenticeships officer Lynne Reid said: “These apprenticeships are fully supported by industry’s professional bodies, like the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Civil Engineering Contractor’s Association.
“Unfortunately here in the north of Scotland, the perception that excellent training opportunities for young people do not exist, is still very much the thinking and this is clearly not true, especially now where I am aware of real vacancies with experienced and reputable construction companies.
“With so many large companies being awarded contracts in the north of Scotland, now is the perfect time to enhance your career prospects in the industry.”
Modern apprenticeships involve being employed and earning a salary while also attending college on a block-release basis.