A TRAINING centre for apprentices lined up for roles at a new £1.4 billion cable manufacturing facility at Hunterston has been announced for Irvine.

UK subsea cable manufacturer, XLCC, have signed a lease on a unit at Arkwright Way in Irvine, to operate as a dedicated training facility for its apprentices.

The fit-out of the training centre will begin in the next couple of weeks and it will be ready for use in June 2024.

The announcement was made on the first day of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024, which runs from March 4-8.

The 12,500 square foot site was secured with the support of Scottish Enterprise, which provided a £200,000 grant towards the fit-out of the unit with office, conference and welfare facilities. 

The new centre will be XLCC’s main training hub for its cable jointer apprentices and Hunterston factory.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: XLCC's Irvine apprentice training facility will be ready for use in JuneXLCC's Irvine apprentice training facility will be ready for use in June (Image: XLCC)

The Arkwright Way location provides XLCC with the opportunity to develop and build relationships with local companies, who have the potential to become the foundation of its preferred suppliers when the Hunterston factory becomes operational.

The first XLCC cohort began their Modern Apprenticeship training programme in October 2023. 

Apprentices are working toward an NC, HNC or HND in electrical engineering in day release format, depending on previous qualifications.

The course has been designed in partnership with Ayrshire College and is essential to enhancing XLCC’s capacity and ability to meet the demands of clients from around the world.

Alan Mathers, business operations director at XLCC, said: “The facility gives XLCC the platform to deliver a very high standard of training for our apprentices, with a focus on cable jointing skills development.

"Our dedicated training centre will help ensure that the apprentices have the necessary expertise to execute the jointing process effectively and efficiently when within our Hunterston factory environment.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Alan Mathers - 'A platform to deliver a very high starndard'Alan Mathers - 'A platform to deliver a very high starndard' (Image: XLCC)

"We are proud to be playing a central role in stimulating economic growth in North Ayrshire and making a positive difference to community life.”

Adrian Gillespie, CEO of Scottish Enterprise, said: “We continue to work closely with XLCC as it seeks to address the growing global demand for HVDC subsea cables, which are crucial for the energy transition.

"The establishment of this new training centre is an important milestone as the company seeks to deliver its ambitious plans for Scotland, by helping to ensure it has the highly skilled workforce it needs now and in the future.

"This transformational project also provides significant economic opportunities for the local supply chain in Ayrshire and beyond.”

Frank Mitchell, chair of Skills Development Scotland, said: “Ayrshire has a long and proud history of passing on skills through apprenticeships.

"In investing in these fantastic new facilities, XLCC are offering future generations of local talent a direct route into high-quality enduring careers. 

"This project demonstrates the value that forward-thinking employers place on apprenticeship pathways, generating the skills needed to deliver a zero carbon future.”

The XLCC apprentices will return next week to Scotland from attending an eight-week training course at the SÜDKABEL Jointing School in Germany.

XLCC has plans to hire 60 apprentice jointers to develop a strong pipeline of certified HVDC (high-voltage direct current) jointers in the district.