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The Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) have praised employers in Scotland after a record number of apprentices were welcomed into the electrical sector.

A total of 738 new apprentices were recruited in 2021, confounding fears that recruitment could be a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. SECTT has said that the new recruits have exceeded expectations, being almost 50% up on 2020 figures and in excess of the 700 which would be closer to a normal year’s intake.

Both bodies have praised employers for their positive attitudes in these unprecedented circumstances and said that these figures suggested the attractiveness of the industry as a career opportunity.

Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT, said: “This really has been a remarkable year. We took on 500 apprentices in 2020 and we are taking on a further 738 starting in the Autumn of 2021. In a normal year, I would expect to take approximately 700 new starts, so this year has exceeded expectations and we are still only in July.

“In addition, nearly all colleges are full to capacity and SECTT is now exploring further opportunities for next year.

“We would like to thank all employers who have stepped up and taken on an apprentice this year. As the Scottish Government targets for transition to zero carbon move closer, it shows a real commitment and a recognition that we need to train the electricians of the future now.

“The SJIB’s Electrical Programme embraces all modern technologies which will play such a huge part in a greener and more sustainable future. Our commitment is to high quality training with every aspect embedded in working safely.”

Fiona Harper, Secretary of the SJIB, added: “It is clear that the future is electric and becoming an electrician is evolving into an aspiration for many young people, which is the way it should be.

“The industry as a whole is committed to the next generation of talent coming through, and employers are clearly supportive of creating a pool of highly-trained, highly-qualified personnel to take their business and the sector forward.”

Established in 1990 by SELECT and Unite the Union, SECTT currently manages the SJIB Apprentice and Adult Training Schemes and runs the only industry-approved training schemes for electrical apprenticeships in Scotland.

The SJIB Schemes are designed to regulate the entry, conditions of service, training and education of all people in the electrical contracting industry, with a particular focus on apprenticeships.

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