Borders scientific firm recruits 10 apprentices who were recently made redundant 

Kelso-based Scotmas has announced it has taken on ten modern apprenticeships to support its business growth and provide a welcome boost to local employment. 

Disinfection Specialists, Scotmas received a grant from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (PERF) earlier this summer which allowed the firm to retool and adapt their business to supply the growing demands for high level disinfectants.  

As a result, the 10 additional jobs were able to be created within the company – all of which were filled by local people recently made redundant.

Scotmas is working with Forth Valley College (FVC) to place all the new-starts on a two-year Modern Apprenticeship in Scientific, Technical and Formulation Technology. The qualification - developed in 2019 with the support from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in partnership with industry - allows new employees to develop the specialist skills and knowledge, whilst at the same time gain vital in-work experience.  

Alistair Cameron of Scotmas Group

“The support from South of Scotland Enterprise and partners has been key in helping us adapt and retool our business and create these new jobs at a crucial time for the south of Scotland economy.”

The apprentices will benefit from using new remote learning tools and a bespoke training suite with full videoconferencing and Teams Room capabilities, thanks to recent investments made by the company.

Alistair Cameron, CEO at Scotmas (pictured), said:  “Thanks to the latest technology, we have been able to partner with Forth Valley College to deliver world-class, SQA-accredited training to our staff entirely on-site. 

“The commitment shown by our workforce – especially in the last six months to meet the demands from customers such as the NHS and the social care providers - has been first class.  At Scotmas we have a responsibility to ensure that they have access to opportunities to upskill and develop their career.  

“The support from South of Scotland Enterprise and partners has been key in helping us adapt and retool our business and create these new jobs at a crucial time for the south of Scotland economy.”

The new roles will cover a range of specialisms from Formulation Technicians to Quality Assurance and Equipment Manufacturing Technicians.

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of SOSE said: “This is a great example of how we are working together as Team South of Scotland with Skills Development Scotland and other key partners to help open up opportunities like this at a time where our region and communities need it the most.

“We went live as the new Enterprise Agency for the South of Scotland on 1 April and since then, our activity has included bringing over £12m of Scottish Government funding to almost 300 businesses across our region.

“Scotmas’ story is such a fantastic one because it is an example of how all our partners are coming together to support a forward-thinking business to bring much-needed employment to the area.  It also showcases a business which is embracing innovation and new ways of working to meet new demands and for the wider benefit of our local economy. I look forward to following the success of Scotmas and its new recruits into the future.”

According to Dr Ronnie Palin, Life & Chemical Sciences sector manager at SDS, investment in the workforce is key for business and the wider economy as we recover from COVID-19. He said:  “Access to a highly skilled workforce is critical for Scotland’s life & chemical sciences businesses to remain competitive and productive. 

“This new apprenticeship is already helping individuals and firms like Scotmas – and demonstrates how SDS, working alongside industry, learning providers and agency partners, can support the sector to attract and retain the talent it needs.”

Caroline Hogg, Client Manager Business Development in FVC’s Department of Business Development, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with Scotmas to train their ten new modern apprentices through our online delivery method, which has been honed and enhanced during the recent lockdown period. Forth Valley College prides itself on being a sector leader in online scientific and technical training provision such as this and we are excited to get started.

“SDS is essential in the work they do supporting innovative firms such as Scotmas to be flexible in their approach to learning and we are delighted that our expertise and experience will be used to help boost Scottish industry as we emerge from lockdown. This partnership also shows that location is no barrier to learning and Forth Valley College can help tailor and adapt training for potential clients from anywhere across the country.”

Find out more about Apprenticeships in Scotland by visiting www.apprenticeships.scot