Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has kicked off Apprenticeship Week 2022 with a visit to Alpha Solway in Annan, where he met with some of the apprentices working at the company.

Alpha Solway is part of the Globus Group and is the wing of the company that makes respirators and protective clothing.

Two years ago, at the start of the pandemic, Alpha Solway started the process of moving respirator mask production back to Scotland and is now one of the world’s fastest growing manufacturers of global worker safety solutions for respiratory protection, chemical protective clothing, hearing protection, safety eyewear and head protection.

Alpha is a huge local success story, with plants in Dumfries too and a second unit currently being developed in Annan. It has apprentices working in many different parts of business who spread their time between the different plants, learning different skills in different areas of the business.

Colin Smyth said: “It was fantastic to be able to visit Alpha Solway in Annan and speak to some of their amazing apprentices.

“Alpha Solway is a huge local success story and its brilliant workforce really stepped up to the mark during the pandemic, making protective gear for the NHS when demand was through the roof. The company is now adapting to work in the new ‘normal’ we’re all adjusting to and their apprentices are a big part of that.

“Many local businesses struggle to recruit the expertise they need in their business. Alpha Solway has very specifics needs from its workforce so it is able to use the apprenticeships to home grow the skills they need, while providing more opportunities for young people.

“The young people I met on my visit were an amazing example of how important apprenticeship programmes are and I wish them every success in future.”

Skills Development Scotland Chair and Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board Co-Chair Frank Mitchell: “When it comes to supporting sustainable skills through workforce development or providing opportunities for young people, we know that apprenticeships work.

“The combination of commitment from employers and the backing of Scottish Government will ensure apprenticeships work for everyone, making a significant contribution to Scotland’s recovery and productivity growth.”


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