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Wednesday, 09 March 2016

An Inverness-based manufacturer has been praised by a local politician for continuing to lead the way on its apprenticeship programme.

Norbord – the UK’s leading producer of engineered wood products – welcomed David Stewart, Labour list MSP for Highlands and Islands, to meet with apprentices at its Morayhill plant.

The company recently took on five apprentices, continuing a commitment to training local talent which stretches back throughout its 30 year plus history in the area.

Norbord also recently announced a £95m investment in the plant, which makes oriented strand board (OSB) used in the construction industry, securing the long-term future of its 130 employees and hundreds of other jobs supported by its supply chain.

The expansion will virtually double capacity and is further supported by a €15m development grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  

Mr Stewart – who visited as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which celebrates the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy – said:  “Apprenticeship programmes such as Norbord’s are an investment in the local economy as well as the country’s future.

“We need more companies to follow Norbord and train young people to fill the skills gap that exists.

“I enjoyed seeing round the factory and talking to the apprentices and other workers, especially at such an exciting time for the plant, as it expands with a multi-million pound investment that will almost double its capacity.”

He also congratulated Skills Development Scotland and its organisation of the sixth annual Scottish Apprenticeship Week, hoping it would inspire more young people to take up one of the 80 work-based modern apprenticeships on offer, from traditional trades to financial services, ICT digital and chemical sciences.

Jerry Jones, general manager of Norbord Inverness, said: “Norbord was extremely pleased to welcome David Stewart MSP to our plant.

“As the leading employer in Inverness, we have been committed to identifying and training the next generation of workers throughout our history in the area. We are proud of our role in shaping our apprentices into fully-trained professionals, but we must also pay tribute to Inverness College, which has worked closely with us to help develop such an effective apprenticeship programme.”

The apprentices are currently completing their training with Inverness College UHI which moved to its new state-of-the-art facilities at Inverness Campus last August.

It offers a wide range of apprenticeship programmes including electrical engineering, welding and fabrication and carpentry and joinery.