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Caithness News Bulletins February 2004
DOUNREAY TO RECRUIT 1000th ENGINEERING APPRENTICE
18 February 04
Dounreay is to recruit its 1000th engineering apprentice in the same year that the UK Atomic Energy Authority is fifty years old.
A total of 993 young people from across the Highlands and Islands have joined UKAEA's engineering apprenticeship scheme at Dounreay since the first intake in 1955.
Recruitment adverts for the next intake of seven engineering apprentices in August this year are being published in local newspapers this week.
Energy Minister Stephen Timms said: "I'm pleased that the Government's commitment to cleaning up the nuclear legacy is maintaining Dounreay's excellent reputation as a place of opportunity for young people in the Highlands of Scotland to learn new skills. This milestone underlines the contribution that Dounreay has made, and is continuing to make, to the socio-economic wellbeing of the region."
Dounreay site director Norman Harrison said: "The tradition and quality of training opportunities for young people in the Highlands and Islands has always been regarded as one of the major benefits of Dounreay. I'm delighted that in such an historic year for the site and the UKAEA, our continuing investment in the future of young people from this area is making its own history.
"Also this year we will see the total number of scientific and secretarial trainees recruited at Dounreay rise to 990, the second intake of our new modern apprentices in decommissioning and the continuing recruitment by many of our locally-based contractors to their own apprenticeships and training schemes. These are the skills that can sustain the reputation of Caithness as a world-class centre for decommissioning expertise."
Many apprentices have risen through the ranks of the UKAEA over the years and others have gone on to develop careers in industry throughout the world.
David Mackay from Wick was part of the first intake in 1955. He joined the British Oxygen Company in 1962, went on to become director of engineering at Honeywell UK and retired as director and general manager of JVC UK. He is visiting professor of engineering at Strathclyde University, a former member of the British Design Council and an Honorary Fellow of Glasgow University and Bell College of Technology. In 1998, he was awarded the OBE for services to design and industry.
"Before Dounreay, it was a choice between fishing and farming if you wanted to train locally," he recalled. "The apprenticeships were a unique opportunity, and I can think of a number of people who served their time at Dounreay and went on to become directors and chairmen of companies. It was a great opportunity for young people in Caithness."
Hugh Ross was a 16-year-old living in
the nearby village of Reay when he was accepted for the 1956 intake of
engineering apprentices. Today, he is a senior electrical engineer
(Deputy Senior Authorised Person Electrical) at Dounreay and will retire
in May 2005 after a lifetime's work at the site. "I remember the
great enthusiasm and excitement there was about the opportunities
for young people which this new project had brought to the area. Now,
almost 50 years later, I am very pleased to see fresh
The apprenticeship is a comprehensive
training programme lasting up to four years. A year of engineering
foundation at North Highland