May 252017
 

With thanks to Clare Scott, Communications Consultant, CJS Communication & Marketing.

A long trip south proved more than worthwhile for a group of north-east wrestlers, with several among their number ascending all the way to the medallists’ podium.

Wrestlers from Oldmeldrum-based V Wrestling Academy won a number of medals at the recent English Junior Wrestling Championships at Thames Valley Athletic Centre in Eton.

11-year-old Colby Taylor struck gold in the 41k category. His fellow club members Leon Etko and Erin Mortimer added to V Wrestling’s medal haul taking silver and bronze in the 37k and 67k categories respectively.

There was further success for V Wrestling Academy in the Veterans’ Championships, which took place over the same weekend. Club member Keith Mortimer returned to Aberdeenshire with a silver medal in the 90k category.

Head coach Vio Etko accompanied the team along with his fellow coach Nicolae Cojocaru.

He said:

“This was a long trip to make for some of our younger wrestlers but they certainly rose to the occasion.

“As well as showing commitment and focus while competing, they all demonstrated great team spirit and camaraderie. The medals are the icing on the cake of a really great developmental experience.”

Leon Etko (12) repeated his silver medal success with a second placing in the 35k category of the recent International Tournament Calarasi Cup in Moldova.

Leon’s achievement in Moldova replicates that of his father and coach Vio Etko, who won the silver medal 25 years prior in the same event.

V Wrestling Academy is based at ETKO Sports Academy in Oldmeldrum. Head coach Vio Etko is a seven-time British wrestling champion and the current Commonwealth Games bronze medal holder. He is also a former winner of Aberdeenshire Sport Council’s Coach of the Year award.

Further information on V Wrestling Academy’s coaching programmes is available by calling ETKO Sports Academy on 01651 873876.

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May 192017
 

Duncan Sinclair, ASV CEO

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

A leading sports facility is forecast to bring over £2million to Aberdeen this year, as it welcomes high-profile national and international events. Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV), which is based on the city’s Linksfield Road, is holding four national and international competitions in 2017, which are predicted to bring the significant economic boost

Each year, ASV holds over 200 events at the prestigious venue, from local festivals to international competitions, by working closely with community leaders and national sporting bodies.

The first of this year’s prominent events, the Scottish National Age Groups Swimming Championships (SNAGS), took place at ASV at the end of March.

The event, one of the largest under 18 swimming event in the UK, brought an estimated £1million of economic benefit to the city. 1000 of the best swimmers in their age group competed, from over 90 clubs across the Scotland. For many, the prestigious event offered the chance to gain consideration times for the Commonwealth Youth Games, taking place in the Bahamas in July.

Netball Europe, which came to Aberdeen between 11-14 May, saw eight national and international teams compete in a series of matches, with spectator seats sold out for most matches. The four-day international under 21 championship featured 100 competitors from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, as well as an open challenge section, introducing teams from Bermuda, Gibraltar, Israel and The Republic of Ireland.

ASV won the right to host Netball Europe after a sustained campaign by Aberdeen Sports Village and Netball Scotland, supported by VisitAberdeenshire.

In June, the British Masters and Senior Age Group Championships  will be hosted at ASV’s Aquatics Centre, featuring swimmers from the across the UK. Over 800 competitors will take advantage of ASV’s impressive 50m pool, competing in a series of races, medleys and relays.

The busy swimming season culminates with the Scottish National Open Swimming Championship between 27 June and 2 July, showcasing the best of Scottish swimming, with over 300 current and future champions competing at ASV.

Duncan Sinclair, ASV CEO, said:

“ASV has been able to attract this year’s national and international competitions by working closely with VisitAberdeenshire, Scottish Swimming and Netball Scotland. VisitAberdeenshire has calculated the swimming and netball events alone will bring an estimated £2million in financial benefit to Aberdeen, proving that leisure and tourism activities are a vital  part of our local economy.

“The Aquatics Centre is now classed as an official Performance Centre by Scottish Swimming, as ASV can confidently deliver large, exciting swimming events.

“ASV is ideally placed to host high-profile competitions, and we are proud to welcome teams and their supporters from across the world to our outstanding facility.”

ASV boasts a state-of-the-art gym, sports hall, indoor and outdoor athletics facilities, indoor football pitch, and a range of exercise classes, as well as the Aquatics Centre, which includes an Olympic standard 50m pool and 25m diving pool.

For more information, contact a member of the team at ASV on 01224 438900.

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Disengaged young people living in Aberdeen are being supported to reach their potential through a range of award-winning urban sports and culture programmes that have received a four figure boost from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation.

Transition Extreme’s renowned youth projects combine its extreme sports and arts offering with essential skills and offer a spring board for disengaged and disadvantaged young people to move their lives onwards in a positive direction.

The donation from the Aberdeen Charity Committee of the global finance management company will support Transition Extreme in delivering its youth and community programmes like its Alternative, Outreach and Extreme Arts Academies.

The youth charity provides coaching in activities like BMX biking, skating, climbing wall, high ropes and art and design and adds in valuable life skills training, which helps increase confidence and motivation among young people who have become disengaged from traditional forms of education.

One of its longest running programmes, the Alternative Academy, works with 15-18 year olds that have become disconnected with mainstream education, training or employment. Working with agencies including social work, police and education, the Academy is designed to provide supports coaching which supports physical and mental health, complemented by soft skills workshops where employers provide support with essential skills like how to prepare for an interview, CV writing, applying for a job and fitting into a team.

Sam Begg (pictured above), fundraising manager for Transition Extreme said:

“Aberdeen Asset Management’s kind donation will help our youth work team deliver vital work and programmes tailored towards helping  disadvantaged and disengaged youngsters make positive life transitions.

“Our facility has a cool dynamic and buzz that appeals to young people who feel comfortable about coming here. As well as the sports side which is fun, we help deliver soft skills which helps towards future employability. People learn in different ways, not just sitting at a desk, and it’s encouraging to have young people come here and gain new skills. We practice what we preach as 25% of our workforce has joined us from these academies.”

Claire Drummond, head of charitable giving at Aberdeen Asset Management said:

“Transition Extreme is a well-known Aberdeen centre which offers a whole range of urban sports and is a real focus for the youth of the city.

“The programmes delivered by its Youth Work Teams are helping to build up self-belief and confidence among young people and offer an important part in the process towards helping them into further education, training or work.

“The support from our Aberdeen Charity Committee will help continue the good work of investing in positive life transitions for young people of Aberdeen.”

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work. For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

Transition Extreme is located at Aberdeen Beachfront and  its facilities are open to the public. As well as a range of training programmes for young people, it runs outreach  projects in Aberdeen communities.

More information is available from its website http://www.transition-extreme.com

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Graeme Johnson and June Jones from ITCA, alongside four of the pupils and Turriff Academy depute rector, Jane Bisset.

A leading apprenticeship-training provider is calling on North-east schools to prepare youngsters for the workplace through an industry initiative aimed at plugging the engineering skills gap.

For the second year running, Aberdeen-based ITCA Training offered pupils from Turriff Academy the opportunity to gain an industry standard accredited qualification.

Six pupils, aged 16-18, successfully completed units in health and safety, machining, lathe work, fabrication, welding and general engineering hand skills at ITCA.

ITCA is now calling on other secondary schools to follow in the footsteps of the school by providing additional skill development opportunities for pupils.

Managing director of ITCA Training, June Jones, said:

“It is extremely promising to see a secondary school so focused on the development of its pupils. I can only hope that other schools follow suit by providing even more young people with the opportunity to gain useful skills and additional qualifications that add to their SCQF points.

“At a time when recruitment in the North-east is low, it is now more important than ever to provide promising young engineers with the skilled training and support they need to pursue a career in this field.”

Jane Bisset, deputy rector at Turriff Academy, said:

“We are very appreciative of the partnership between ITCA, Turriff Academy and Aberdeenshire Council. The initiative is very beneficial for our pupils, as they are able to gain an industry standard qualification whilst still in secondary school.

“This qualification stands alongside their academic achievements and will instantly give them an advantage over other jobseekers in a very competitive market.”    

ITCA Training, which is one of the largest engineering apprenticeship-training firms in Scotland, is situated at Howe Moss Drive in the  Kirkhill  Industrial Estate, Dyce. The base, which spans almost 22,000sq feet, includes offices, classrooms, a storage yard, and workshop space. The company has been in operation in the   North-east  since 1989, and provides training for young employees in various sectors including welding, fabrication, mechanical engineering, business administration and logistics.      

To find out more about ITCA visit www.itca-training.com  

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Apr 112017
 

By Fin Hall.

Nuart Aberdeen has finally arrived. A first for the city, sees a collection of street artists, organised by Aberdeen Inspired gather to paint, talk and show films etc over the Easter

Old and rarely used doors on the streets within the city centre, mainly around the Merchant Quarter, are being painted in different styles by different artists.

Among the artists participating in this current international project is Julien de Casabianca, a French/Corsican artist.

His Outgoing project features images of paintings in art galleries, often taken by members of the public on their phones, the main subject from said painting isolated via photoshop, then printed onto paper.

This paper is then pasted on buildings, walls etc in public spaces.

To this end various primary schools were invited to send a group of children to Aberdeen Museum Treasure Hub in Northfield, a building which stores many of the works of art that have been relocated from the Art Gallery during the refurbishment that is currently ongoing.

I was in invited by Aberdeen Inspired and NuArt to catalogue this process, working with Manor Park, Riverbank and Walker Road schools.

On arrival, the children were told what the general purpose of their visit would entail, before being split into two or three groups. I would stick with one of the groups each time. This took place on three Thursdays in March.

In the first part of their session, the children would be in an almost classroom like situation where they were given practically free rein to express themselves art wise.

They had a large wall mounted monitor complete with a white screen where they could copy images from the Art Gallery’s digital representation of the art works in it’s collection, or just draw whatever they wished; there were props and dressing up clothes so they could utilise and get their friends to take photos of themselves, or take selfies, with their iPads.

Also, there were word searches and sheets of A4 paper which had a pre-printed frame on, so they could draw whatever took their fancy. It was interesting to watch and see how they reacted and the choice they made. Some would throw themselves wholeheartedly into it, others just sat quietly and concentrated on drawing.

After about 45 minutes, the group I was with were taken through into the first of two storage rooms, with their iPads, to view and photograph the paintings, or rather, parts of paintings, be it a figure, an animal or something like a tree.

the youngsters had ever seen such paintings, and they were quite amazed

This room contained paintings of various sizes and from various eras, stored in racks which slid out when pulled. These works of art were paintings done on either canvas or or other fabrics, but not paper.

Some of the works they weren’t able to capture because they are still under copyright, or were covered in protective tape and plastic, but many others were available.

This was the first time that many of  and interested in them. I had to explain to them that they should concentrate on just part of a painting, and not fill their screen with the whole thing, some of which, as you can imagine were rather large.

After that they were led into a smaller room where paintings and drawings done on paper, were stored in drawers. Some of these drawers were already pulled out and at just the right height for the children to stand over, making sure that their device covers were either removed or held securely up, and snap until their hearts’ content.

The net result is that selected photographs the children have taken will be chosen to be the ones used by Julian to paste up in the East Green – an area other artists will be utilising, and where the official opening ceremony on Saturday 15th April will take place.

This part of he city already has several doors from the Painted Doors project already in situ. So it is the perfect location for the hub of the event.

Saying that, there will be several events taking place in the few days leading up to that. See the NuArt website for details.

All in all it was a pleasure to be involved with the schoolchildren.

The Treasure Hub is available for group and organisation tours. It is well worth visiting. So, this coming week get out and about in the city centre and see this unique event.

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Apr 072017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Youngsters from Aberdeen schools have delved into the city’s prestigious art collection to get inspiration for their special involvement in Nuart Aberdeen.
Pupils from Manor Park, Woodside, Riverbank, Seaton and Walker Road primary schools got the opportunity to explore a wide range of art at the Treasure Hub in Northfield, currently being kept in safe storage while the Aberdeen Art Gallery undergoes its multi-million pound redevelopment. 

The sessions were held as part of The Outings Project, a participatory public art project founded by the globally renowned artist Julian de Casabianca.

The artist, who is participating in the inaugural Nuart Aberdeen festival, will work with the youngsters to paste their selected characters at specific sites in Aberdeen city centre.

Pupils had the opportunity to examine a number of paintings from the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Collections, from Portrait of a Lady (The Artist’s Wife) by William Dyce to La Perla de Triana by John Phillip, among others, choosing and photographing their favourite characters to share with the Aberdeen public.

They will then enlarge and paste them up in the city centre under the guidance of Julian, as well as in their own schools and neighbourhoods – getting the change to turn the streets into temporary art galleries during the festival, which is taking place from Friday April 14 to Sunday April 16.

The artworks that the children accessed for this project aren’t currently on display, giving the public a wonderful opportunity to enjoy them in a new way.

It is hoped that the project will help children feel involved in the festival, especially as their efforts will also be displayed in their local areas, as well as encourage new audiences to engage with the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums collection.

There are a number of fun ways for youngsters and families to get involved in Nuart Aberdeen including street printing and chalk drawing workshops, walking tours and an Easter Sunday Street Art hunt.

Nuart Aberdeen will officially open on Saturday April 15, when Herakut’s monumental mural on the façade of Aberdeen Market will be unveiled before the guided Street Art tours begin.

Local breakdance group Bring It Boys will perform a ‘Street Art’ inspired routine created especially for the event.

Also on Saturday, the street printing workshop with Berlin-based collective Raubdruckerin will teach participants how to transform old clothes with street inspired graphic designs from the area in and around Castlegate.

The Chalk Don’t Chalk workshop, being held on St Nicholas Centre’s Rooftop Garden on Sunday April 16, gives children of all ages the “freedom of the city” to create their own chalk street art pieces, with professional artists on hand to teach and guide children on their designs.

Belgian street artist Jaune has been busy hiding his mischievous bin men and women around Aberdeen city centre for the Easter Sunday Street Art hunt also on Sunday. Children can follow the hints provided to find six hidden artworks and win a special Easter Sunday prize.

Elaine Farquharson-Black, director at Aberdeen Inspired and partner at sponsor Burness Paull, said:

“It was wonderful to see the children enjoying the sessions at The Treasure Hub and getting so involved. Nuart Aberdeen is a legacy project for us and we are really looking forward to seeing their paste-ups in the city centre and their local communities.

“This particular project was the brainchild of Julian de Casabianca and it was intended for local children to feel ownership of these images. It is also hoped that they will bring their families to enjoy the Art Gallery when it re-opens in 2018/19 because it will feel, quite rightly, as if they are artists, in the same way as those displayed in our local art space are.

“We would like to extend our thanks to Aberdeen City Council for supporting school staff during these project, as well as community staff who will help with the next stage, and of course, the Aberdeen Art Gallery staff who facilitated the sessions at the Treasure Hub.

“There will be a range of fun events that youngsters and their families can take advantage of during Nuart Aberdeen and I would urge everyone to check out the programme and enjoy what is on offer.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said:

“We are absolutely delighted that our schools and pupils are participating so enthusiastically in the latest festival offering in Aberdeen’s cultural calendar. We have placed a huge emphasis on culture and education and to bring the two together at the Treasure Hub and for the children to work with a globally renowned artist is absolutely fantastic.”

For more information on Nuart Aberdeen please visit http://www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk/

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Mar 242017
 

Aberdeenshire’s Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillors – Paul Johnston and Martin Ford – have welcomed a report on ‘Augmented provision for young people’ being considered at a meeting of their Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee. 

The report recommends how to use the additional £100,000 for ‘youth work’ included in Aberdeenshire’s 2017/18 revenue budget passed on 9 February.

The DIGG included £70,000 for youth work (re-allocated from within the community learning and development budget) in its draft 2017/18 budget proposals published last November.

Following budget discussions, £70,000 of new money for youth work was included in the Aberdeenshire administration’s 2017/18 budget proposals published on 2 February.

The amount for youth work was then increased from £70,000 to £100,000 after the Scottish Government announced additional funding for councils on 2 February and further discussions took place between the DIGG and the administration regarding the extra Government grant.

The DIGG argued that new Council funding for youth work was required to support activities that now fall outside the scope of community learning and development, and suggested either direct provision by the Council or grants to community groups would be appropriate.

Both direct provision and grants are now being recommended by officers. 

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“The DIGG identified funding for youth work as a budget priority and we are very pleased £100,000 has been included in the 2017/18 revenue budget.

“The report to the 23 March meeting of the Education and Children’s Services Committee means a decision can be taken on how to use the additional money before the financial year starts at the beginning of April.”

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Feb 172017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

A football-mad Aberdeen family firm is helping local youngster to gear up for local football festivals. Greenwell Equipment (Greenwell), which is based in East Tullos, has provided high quality track-suit tops and bottoms to 27 boys at Newmachar United Football Club. 

The boys, aged 6-8 years, attend football festivals across the North-east and train at the Newmachar Axis Centre.

Mark Turnbull, managing director of Greenwell, is a big supporter of the club, and his son Cal, age 6, has been playing with Newmachar United FC for over two years.

Greenwell Equipment supplies modular buildings, containers, warehouse shelving and pallet racking and office furniture across the world, and the family run firm employs 15 people.

Managing director Mark is a keen football fan, and played himself as a boy and young man. He has recently started assisting the coaches at the club, with a view to training to becoming a qualified coach.

Mr Turnbull said:

“I am delighted to help out Newmachar United FC. It is a great, local club, which gives youngsters the chance to get some exercise, acquire new skills and learn how to work well in a team. Greenwell Equipment also supports Aberdeen Football Club’s Youth Academy, as we see football as an important local activity and also a great discipline and training ground for young people.”

Derek Reid, one of the coaches for the club said:

“We are really grateful for Mark and Greenwell for their support. We often attend football festivals and the other teams all look great in their kit, so we are thrilled to see our boys all now looking professional. It gives the players a real sense of pride and belonging. Newmachar United FC is an inclusive club, there are no try-outs, and we are open to every child of any ability, so we try to keep our costs to a minimum.

“Kit sponsorship is important as it makes the boys proud to belong to Newmachar United FC, and encourages them to try their best for the team. The cost of football strips, equipment and transport can add up, so we welcome all the support we can get. The boys are delighted with the new, warm track-suits which they are wearing with pride.”

Greenwell Equipment comprises of four divisions, encompassing: Greenwell Warehousing, a supplier of high quality shelving and pallet racking; Greenwell Cabins, a distributor of accommodation and welfare modules; Greenwell Office, a supplier of a wide range of business furniture both new and second-hand, and Greenwell Containers, a supplier of high-quality shipping containers.

Family-run business Greenwell, which has 15 employees, is the North of Scotland official trading partner for Containex modular buildings. Greenwell holds a large stock at its depots across Aberdeen and Angus, enabling the firm to respond quickly to customers’ demands.

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Jan 062017
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

It’s a small budget adjustment that could make a big difference.

That’s the rationale for the proposal by Aberdeenshire’s Democratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG) to reallocate £70,000 to support youth work in Aberdeenshire Council’s 2017/18 revenue budget. 

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“We believe informal learning activity for young people in safe social spaces is valuable for both the young people involved and communities.”

The purpose of community learning and development has changed since revised Scottish Government guidance was introduced in 2012. 

“Traditional youth work is still important as part of a wider view of supporting communities, even though the focus of community learning and development has shifted due to government policy,” said Cllr Johnston.

“We want the Council to be able to support youth work that now falls outside the scope of community learning and development,” said Cllr Martin Ford.

“Provision could be either by the Council itself or by making funding available to community groups.

“For example, I know of really valuable youth work being provided through a community organisation locally. But it’s a continual struggle finding the funding required to keep provision in place.

“In such circumstances, a small grant from the Council could make a big difference and would certainly represent value for money for the Council in terms of the benefits for the community.”

The DIGG proposal comes despite Aberdeenshire Council facing severe budget cuts next year. The £70,000 to support youth work is proposed to be reallocated from within the community learning and development budget, which is forecast to be underspent this year

Aberdeenshire Council’s overall budget for community learning and development work was protected by the confidence and supply agreement struck between the DIGG and the Council’s administration group in 2015.

Aberdeenshire Council’s 2017/18 revenue budget will be set at the full council meeting on 9 February.

 

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Dec 012016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

june-jones-and-rachel-elliot-1A leading North-east apprenticeship-training firm has been awarded a gold level accreditation for meeting the standards set by Developing the Young Workforce’s (DYW) Quality Accreditation.

ITCA Training, based at the Kirkhill Industrial Estate in Dyce, Aberdeen, received the accolade for its commitment to training and developing young talent.

Established in 1989, the firm provides a large number of learners with the opportunity to train in a wide range of disciplines, such as welding and fabrication, business administration, mechanical engineering, and logistics operations management.

Through its Skills for Engineers (S4E) course, ITCA provides training to young learners aged 16-18, who are no longer in full-time education. The programme is designed to prepare young people for the workplace, as it helps to boost confidence, improve their practical skill set, and provide them with health and safety awareness.

ITCA is currently working closely with three local schools to help pupils gain an industry standard qualification. By attending ITCA’s premises one day a week, pupils gain skills and experience in engineering disciplines and will achieve an SVQ Level 1 Performing Engineering Operations qualification. The eight-month initiative is now into its second year, with ITCA hoping to expand the initiative by developing links and working collaboratively with more schools in Aberdeen City and Shire.

As well as school pupils and school leavers, ITCA also works with young learners in full-time employment, as the firm offers bespoke training courses and framework to businesses with graduates or Modern Apprentices. These programmes give young people the opportunity to earn whilst they learn, gain new skills, and achieve a qualification that will help advance their career.

June Jones, managing director at ITCA Training, said:

“We are always happy to be recognised for the work we do with all our learners, as we cover all different types of participants and age groups and are dedicated to providing the highest quality training programmes. The accreditation is an acknowledgement of the hard work by all staff at ITCA to prove that we are indeed providing gold standard training.

“We work very hard to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to young people. University and college is not for everyone, so it is important that businesses are providing adequate training and development opportunities for their current and future employees. We need to all work together to ensure there is a future workforce.”

Rachel Elliot, manager at Developing the Young Workforce, said:

“We would like to congratulate ITCA on receiving DYW’s Quality Accreditation at gold level, so far they’re only the second business to be awarded gold in the North-east of Scotland.”

“We were extremely impressed with ITCA and the work that they do with young learners, as they were able to demonstrate that they provide training and development opportunities to a significant number of young people.

“With businesses often challenging young people to have better communication, numeracy and group work skills, it is encouraging to see that ITCA has all the right programmes in place to help young people develop these skills.”

 

ITCA Training, which is one of the largest engineering apprenticeship-training firms in Scotland, is situated at Howe Moss Drive in the Kirkhill Industrial Estate, Dyce. The base, which spans almost 22,000sq feet, includes offices, classrooms, a storage yard, and workshop space. The company has been in operation in the North-east since 1989, and provides training for young employees in various sectors including welding, fabrication, mechanical engineering, business administration and logistics.   

To find out more about ITCA visit www.itca-training.com

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