South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, has praised local business, Derek Mitchell Electrical, during a visit for Scottish Apprenticeship Week. The company, which employs 30 staff, takes on two apprentices a year. They are based in Heathhall in Dumfries and have been involved in the electrical industry for over 40 years.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week is an initiative from Skills Development Scotland which aims to celebrate the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy. The Scottish Government is committed to developing the young workforce, encouraging schools and local businesses to work together at an early stage to get young people interested.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said,

“I was really impressed with the young people I met at Derek Mitchell Electrical and with the commitment of this local business to develop and train a local workforce by taking on two apprentices every year.

“Back in 2008 the local college course was threatened with closure because of a lack of numbers. Derek Mitchell Electrical saved the course and now, along with other local companies, they are making sure that young people in Dumfries and Galloway can build a career locally.

“It’s vital that schools and parents understand that learning a trade is just as prestigious as going to university, indeed it can lead to better employment outcomes and higher wages. The increase in take up of apprenticeships has contributed to figures released last week which show more Dumfries and Galloway school leavers are in study, work or training than a decade ago. There’s also a skill shortage in Dumfries and Galloway and Brexit means that there will be less labour coming from Europe, so growing our own workforce is essential.

“It was fascinating to learn the opportunities for young electricians these days as we move to a renewable economy, for example, renewables is a growing sector and the installation and maintenance of electrical charging points for cars is set to mushroom in the future.

“I was impressed with the way Derek Mitchell Electrical are an innovative company, always looking at new developments in the industry and ensuring their young apprentices are trained to meet these challenges.”

Image of Joan McAlpine MSP attached with Paul Mitchell, Managing Director of Derek Mitchell Electrical, Scott Burnside, Training Officer with SECTT and apprentices from Derek Mitchell Electricals.