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New partnership formed between Meldrum Academy and offshore company


By Kyle Ritchie

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Developing the Young Workforce North East (DYWNE) is celebrating a new official school and business partnership in Aberdeenshire.

The alliance between James Fisher Offshore and Meldrum Academy formalises a collaboration that has been more than six years in the making.

Headquartered in Oldmeldrum, the company also took the opportunity to sign up to the Young Person’s Guarantee.

This nationwide initiative aims to connect every 16-24 year old in Scotland to the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training programme or volunteering.

Meldrum Academy head teacher Ian Jackson said: “We are absolutely delighted to have James Fisher Offshore as a collaborative partner.

“Working closely with local businesses in supporting us at Meldrum Academy is extremely valuable as we work together to equip our students with the skills for life beyond school.”

With close links in the community through parents and employees, the company has always supported young people entering the workplace.

As part of the Meldrum Academy Business Partnership Group, it provides an employer’s view on the school’s initiatives to prepare for the world of work ahead of them.

James Fisher Offshore currently provides seven modern apprenticeships across both engineering and business administration, as well as employing a graduate apprentice who is studying at Robert Gordon University.

Former Meldrum Academy pupil Ellen Collie is now undertaking a modern apprenticeship in business and administration at James Fisher Offshore. She is with fellow modern apprentice Nathan Peden, who is studying engineering maintenance.
Former Meldrum Academy pupil Ellen Collie is now undertaking a modern apprenticeship in business and administration at James Fisher Offshore. She is with fellow modern apprentice Nathan Peden, who is studying engineering maintenance.

Several employees have already gone through the programme and its has a dedicated apprenticeship page on its website to highlight the route to a career with the firm.

One of the links that inspired the formal partnership was a visit that managing director Jack Davidson made to the school back in 2017.

He was so impressed by a young engineers’ club that took part in a Dragon’s Den event, he decided to support them in building and racing an electric car as part of a Greenpower Education Trust event.

As well as finding the young engineers space in the workshop to store and build the car, Mr Davidson made sure there were experienced technicians on hand to offer guidance and support when needed.

He said: "This partnership is really important to James Fisher Offshore – as well as signing up to the Young Person’s Guarantee – because we believe in supporting and encouraging our young people with the different career opportunities available to them within our industry."

To this end, the business has supported the school with career events and created a booklet which highlighted the Meldrum Academy students employed at the company and the different paths they took to start their career at James Fisher Offshore.

It has also produced a video that gives a brief overview of the oil and gas industry and the services that the firm provide to the industry.

In it, the energy transition and what a career in oil and gas might look like are discussed. A “day in the life” of an apprentice, to give a more realistic view of what that path might involve, is also included.

Five members from James Fisher Offshore have recently started the pilot mentoring programme at Meldrum Academy.

Director of DYWNE Mary Holland said: “The ambition is that through formal partnership working, all young people will become better equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience they will need to prepare them for the world of work.

“We applaud all the ongoing work that James Fisher Offshore is doing to support young people, as well as the collaborative way in which Meldrum Academy has proactively reached out to a local business to bring the workplace closer to the classroom.”


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