By Ian McConnell

ENERGY company Drax has extended its engineering apprenticeship scheme across all of its Scottish sites.

Drax said this scheme was part of its commitment to ensuring its “workforce in Scotland has the skills needed to support a post-Covid economic recovery”.

A spokesman said the group was taking on the same number of engineering apprentices in Scotland as last year, five in total, but noted the programme had been expanded to cover all four Drax sites north of the Border.

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These sites are the Cruachan pumped storage hydro power station, the Daldowie waste-to-energy plant in the east end of Glasgow and the Lanark and Galloway hydro power schemes.

Drax took over the sites from ScottishPower in January last year.

The spokesman said: “This is the second round of apprentices Drax has invested in since bringing the assets into the business from ScottishPower on January 1, 2019.”

Eighteen-year-old Ross Davie, who has joined Drax’s Daldowie plant as a technical apprentice, said: “It has been a very uncertain time for young people like me looking to start their careers over the last few months, because of Covid. To not only secure an engineering apprenticeship, but one based at Drax’s Daldowie plant, is incredibly exciting.”

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In July 2019, Drax announced five apprenticeship placements at its Galloway, Cruachan and Daldowie sites.

Mike Maudsley, Drax’s UK portfolio generation director, said yesterday: “Meeting our apprentices is one of the highlights of my job – these are the young people with the enthusiasm and raw talent to deliver the cutting-edge technologies of the future.

“Through these apprenticeships we aim to nurture that talent so they develop valuable skills – we want to have a workforce with the expertise that Drax, and Scotland, needs to thrive, especially as we recover from the Covid crisis.”

Scottish Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn said: “As we recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that we continue to develop Scotland’s young workforce to equip people with the skills they need to succeed while meeting the emerging needs and opportunities of our employers and economy.

“Apprenticeships are not only valuable for our young people, they are a fantastic way for all employers to invest in their workforce and provide the skills the economy needs now and in the future."

He added: "I am delighted that Drax continues to nurture new talent by appointing apprentices as part of its commitment to STEM skills and training. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all those starting out in a new career the very best.”

Drax noted that its technical apprenticeship scheme gives new recruits "the opportunity to gain skills and expertise by working alongside highly qualified engineers". It is a four-year programme, and specialises in three engineering disciplines: mechanical, electrical, and control and instrumentation.