AES Solar is embracing Scottish Apprenticeship Week by sending managing director George Goudsmit back to the floor to make a solar panel.

George and Jordan

MD George solders a solar panel joint under the watchful eye of apprentice Jordan

We employ three modern apprentices and are taking an active role in this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week which is supported by Developing the Young Workforce Moray.

Apprentices from AES Solar and other local companies took part in a live social media broadcast to schools throughout the region.

Moira Stickle, manager of DYW Moray said she was delighted that Forres was being represented at this level. She said: “Local businesses with an international perspective with modern apprentices at the heart of their people strategy is inspirational to see, and how they value their people as their most important asset is a testament to their successes to date.”

AES Solar is the longest established solar thermal manufacturer in Western Europe installs solar thermal and PV panels for both domestic and commercial projects.

Back to the factory floor

George joined Jordan Steele, one of the company’s three apprentices in the firm’s workshop to learn how to make one of their solar thermal panels which are installed all over the world including locations such as Antartica, The Seychelles and a UN hospital in Afghanistan.

Speaking of his experience George said: “Having run the company for 27 years, I have finally been taught how to make a panel by an apprentice and what a great teacher Jordan is.

“It was actually a real treat to be in the workshop and see more about the hands-on work Jordan is doing. I’m usually in the office or flying all over the country to meetings, so it made a really nice change.”

George sees his apprentices as being the company’s future and admires the fresh approach they often bring as he explained: “I am always inspired when I see youngsters working on interesting projects, their enthusiasm at trying to be innovative and looking at challenges in a totally different way from mine reminds me of my own youth. I invented so many schemes and products and clearly remember being filled with joy when they succeeded and, more often, devastated when they crashed.

“When I see youngsters daring to take responsible risks, my heart goes out to them. We should encourage youngsters to experiment on all levels and that’s what we offer at AES Solar. Our apprentices are getting paid to work, but more importantly, they are being paid to think and come up with solutions and be creative. It’s not as simple as telling them what to do. We want them to think for themselves. Giving space and permission to young brains to explore and find solutions, is always rewarding, as they usually come up with totally fresh approaches and solutions.”

Original ideas

George added: “At AES Solar, we are excited to be working with intelligent young people, they invariably come up with original ideas that can be used within an existing structure and often enhance procedures that have fallen by the wayside. Old routines often are no longer as efficient as they once were. New eyes see a new perspective and find new solutions.”

And as George explained, the apprentices also gain access to the existing staff members who between them have a wealth of experience: “Our apprentices have a fantastic opportunity to work and learn from our more experienced staff. We have people who have attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and another who has worked for the largest law firm in the world, both of whom grew up in Moray so we have a fantastic calibre of staff for our apprentices to work alongside.”

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