Moray pair delighted to pass on their skills to young workforce

TWO EMPLOYEES AT SCOTLAND’S only solar panel manufacturer are developing their work with young people and education from their Moray base.

Stuart Engelmann and Keith Esson from Forres-based AES Solar will be working on different projects, each designed to help young people make good choices regarding future employment and their careers.

Stuart, project manager the firm, will be working with Career Ready, a national charity partnering with schools, local authorities and employers to help young people become career ready.
The initiative will roll out across Moray at the end of the month when Stuart, along with 50 other mentors from 26 companies will meet the students that will be supported over the next two years.

Speaking of the project, Stuart said: “I am very excited to be involved with Career Ready and to start working with the young person I will be mentoring. To begin with I’ll be getting to know the student and perhaps helping them with their revision plans, how to work in the best way, their CV and their personal statement if they wish to apply for university.

“They will also get the opportunity to work with me at AES Solar during a four week placement in the summer which will give them a real taste of what working life is like. We will also do mock interviews to prepare them for that side of the working environment. I wish there had been a scheme like this, when I was looking at my career options.”

Educated at Forres Academy, Stuart added that he wishes to show young people that there are good, viable jobs in Moray, adding: “I moved straight back to Forres after graduating from Edinburgh Napier University to work with AES Solar through the ScotGrad placement scheme – and it’s opened up all sorts of opportunities for me.

“It’s very important that we retain well-educated young people so that Moray continues to develop as a hub for business and enterprise. It will also be a valuable lesson for me and will help me develop my skills for possibly future roles possibly as a supervisor or manager.”

Susan Macpherson, regional manager for Career Ready, added: “We are delighted that AES Solar will be supporting Career Ready in Moray. We have 50 mentors from 26 local companies currently preparing to meet the student they will be supporting on their “Career Ready” journey over the next two years.

“Career Ready is a national charity partnering with schools, local authorities and employers to help young people become career ready. Students are supported by a mentor, undertake a four week paid internship and attend a series of masterclasses during their 5th and 6th year at school. The programme can be transformational for both students and mentors.”

Meanwhile, Keith Esson has become an ambassador with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). STEM is geared toward people who work in these industries and the ambassadors are volunteers that aim to inspire young people to become interested in STEM subjects and consider a career in a STEM industry.

Keith became involved in the initiative after Debbie Mathers, STEM Ambassador Co-ordinator for the North Scotland Hub supported AES Solar with their Interactive Science Tent at Piping at Forres in June.

He said: “I studied Renewable Energy at the University of Dundee as I have always been interested in STEM subjects and I wanted to be able apply these technologies in a sustainable way.

“I joined the STEM program after organising and hosting the AES Interactive Science Tent at Piping At Forres. It was great fun running the tent and talking to children and young people about all the technologies we had on show.

“Debbie was a massive support and brought an army of volunteers. Before I knew it I was attending the STEM Ambassador Induction, just a few weeks later. I believe that a world in which there are more scientists and engineers could only be a good thing.”

Debbie Mathers, STEM Ambassador Co-ordinator concluded: “It is great to have Keith involved in the programme not only to be a role model to young people but to show them there are opportunities in the local community in small, innovative companies.

“Also, we are always looking for more volunteers in Moray so it is great to have him as part of the team.

“STEM Ambassadors aim to inspire young people to pursue STEM subjects, it’s a rewarding experience becoming a STEM Ambassador. You can meet lots of interesting people, gain confidence, develop presentation skills and have fun.”