New Engineering Course at Orkney College UHI

By Nick Morrison

Orkney College UHI is starting a new course – The National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering is to be offered by the new Engineering Department. The Department is part of Maritime Studies but aims to deliver engineering subjects for both land and sea.

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Mark Shiner, curriculum Leader for Maritime and Engineering said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the interest we have received in engineering subjects. Setting up the department has filled a timely gap in local provision as Orkney continues to expand as a technical centre for innovation, not just in renewables but across the board.

“There are many excellent engineering firms up here and we want to be there to supply them with skilled staff for the next generation.”

This new course at Scottish education Level six is ideal for school leavers who have a Level five in mechanical engineering . It is also ideal for adult people working in engineering who have no formal qualifications in the subject but would like to go on to an HNC or a Degree.

Alistair Cameron who will be delivering the new National Certificate course has a wide range of experience including Dounreay, Offshore Oil and Gas and most recently, Renewables. He said:

“It’s been a rewarding first year with Orkney College UHI getting the National 5 engineering students through their course and I’m looking forward to running two National 5 engineering courses next year to meet the increased demand.

“I’ll also be spending the next few months developing a National Certificate in mechanical engineering syllabus which I’ll also be delivering from August this year.

“After meeting with local stakeholders, it’s clear there is a need for engineering skill and knowledge locally and it’s good for potential students of engineering that these courses can be accessed in Orkney saving time travelling and cost on accommodation South.

“Since starting my apprenticeship nearly thirty-five years ago, I’ve found engineering has continued to be a very varied, rewarding and interesting career and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.”

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This new course will be based in the old tractor shed at the college . The initial intake of students was oversubscribed by 100% and  the college has taken steps to make more places available .

The NC course is made up of 15 modules which are chosen from a Scottish Qualifications Authority list. Representatives from local Engineering companies and Marine Services gathered for a consultation event at Orkney College to choose the modules which would provide best value for industry in Orkney. The event was coordinated by “Developing the Young Workforce” (DYW) officer Rachel Scarth, aided by Natasha Stacey.

Commenting  Rachel Scarth, Project Manager for DYW Orkney, said:

“Earlier this year, we worked with Mark to bring local employers in to see the Engineering Department and give them a chance to tell the team what their needs and skills gaps are now and in the future.  Their input helped Mark and his team tailor the modules they will be offering as part of the National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, as well as capture their thoughts on how the department can develop in the future.

“We are delighted that they are now able to offer this course to interested students, in the knowledge that it will be meeting the needs of the sector in Orkney.”

 So all the modules have direct relevance to local employability.

The National Certificate is an ideal next step for schools pupils who have taken the National 5 or people who are already working in an engineering setting and want to begin developing formal qualifications in Engineering.

For the next step after the NC, the college offers a part time HNC in Engineering Systems taught via video link from North Highland College in Thurso.

The Engineering department continues to develop maritime courses and Hydrogen training to keep pace with local needs and local developments.

To find out more click on this link: NC MECHANICAL ENGINEERING NC LEVEL 6

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