Energy skills students are being handed a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” thanks to a new qualification being delivered for this academic year.
As well as preparing students at East Coast College for engineering roles in the industry, the addition of a project management qualification to the Energy Skills Foundation Programme (ESFP) will open them up to other careers and boost their employability.
The Association for Project Management (APM) Project Fundamentals Qualification course has been donated by 20/20 Business Insight as an investment to industry and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) is funding the examination fees.
The ESFP is a one-year, college-based level 2 pre-apprenticeship course being delivered by the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft campuses of the college, which aims to introduce students to the main engineering disciplines required in the energy industry.
Prospective students got the opportunity to find out more about the new project management qualification and how it can benefit them at its launch this month.
Alan Wagner, curriculum manager for engineering at East Coast College, said the event was a great success: “These students are predominantly not in the engineering sector, so it has given them a further insight into the options that are available in the engineering world and how they can develop their careers.
“The introduction to project management is a great opportunity for them to develop some understanding outside of the classroom and enhance their CVs and job prospects in the future.
“Traditionally, students have had a desire to enter the oil and gas sector, but with the emergence of renewables their opportunities are increasing.
“With the development of offshore wind projects along the east coast there will be many job opportunities in the build and construction phase, as well as in the long-term operation and maintenance of them.”
Phillip Jefferies, business development manager for 20/20 Business Insight, said the qualification provides students with an awareness of project management that will stand them in good stead wherever their career leads them.
It will increase their employability and rather than the foundation course just preparing them for engineering-based roles, the project management qualification gives them another career option.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these learners and another string to their bow which will help them wherever they go in their careers,” said Mr Jefferies.
“In the east of England, we have some very complex projects taking place and the more we fill the industry with people with experience and qualifications, the more we enhance project delivery.”
Andy Brown, director of operations for the ECITB, said: “We are pleased to support the Energy Skills Foundation Programme, which is a great example of industry collaboration and has helped to prepare many learners with the skills they need to embark on industry careers.
“Project management skills are vital for industry and this additional qualification gives learners a rounded introduction to the energy sector.”
Gemma Head, the East of England Energy Group’s (EEEGR) Skills for Energy programme manager, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to gain an additional qualification which we know will be of huge benefit to them now and within their future careers.
“Project management is a skill which is increasingly recognised as being of value in whichever role they choose to undertake.”
The ESFP was developed by industry to provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge of various aspects of the energy industry, as well as experience the engineering disciplines required for their potential future careers.
It involves studying for several energy-related qualifications, development of employability skills and offers exciting opportunities to visit local employers.