Strong Demand for ‘Skills for Work’ Training at NAFC

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The new Skills for Work students, with NAFC staff.

The NAFC Marine Centre UHI welcomed 36 keen young people from schools throughout Shetland last week to start on the Centre’s ‘Skills for Work’ programme.

Over the coming two years, the students, all currently in their 3rd year of secondary school, will attend NAFC one day each fortnight while continuing their normal school classes the rest of the time. The Skills for Work programme (also known as Vocational Pathways) offers young people the opportunity to undertake college-based vocational training while still at school and is intended to provide them with a variety of practical skills and experiences relevant to particular careers, as well as helping them become familiar with the world of work in general. Students who complete the programme also receive an SQA qualification.

The largest group of 20 students enrolled on the Engineering Skills course which aims to provide students with a range of practical engineering skills. During the course they will be taught good practice in areas such as metalworking and fabrication, electrical wiring and electronics, and basic mechanical plant maintenance. The Engineering Skills course is always very popular with demand for places on the course this year again significantly exceeding the number of available places.

Eleven students enrolled on the Maritime Skills course, which has been running now at NAFC for more than 10 years, and was also over-subscribed this year. Subjects covered in this course include seamanship skills, such as boat-handling and rope-work, navigation, basic marine engineering and health and safety.

Finally, five students enrolled on the Aquaculture course, which is being run for the first time in a number of years. This course will cover all aspects of aquaculture in Shetland, including mussels and salmon, from hatcheries to farm sites and processing factories. Students will also receive training in small boat handling and sea survival skills. The aquaculture students had a busy first day: visiting a lumpfish hatchery, looking in some creels, getting lectures on the lifecycle of the Atlantic salmon and learning how to tie a bowline knot!

All of the courses include site visits to local companies or other relevant localities to broaden the students’ experiences. There is also a strong emphasis on general transferable skills that are relevant to any field of work.

Details of the Skills for Work programme are available at: 


For further information please contact Stuart Fitzsimmons (aquaculture), Howard Thomson (engineering skills) or Adam Thomson (nautical skills) on 01595 772000.