Government Advisor Launches Skills Programme To Support Inverclyde’s Next Generation

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Business Round-Up – 2 August 2021

Government Advisor Launches Skills Programme To Support Inverclyde’s Next Generation

L-R: Mick O’Connor collecting Business of The Year from Deputy First Minister, John Swinney at the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

A Scottish Government advisor and vastly experienced space programme director has launched a new programme to support future opportunities for local young people.

Inverclyde Makerspace is initially concentrating on creating routes to positive destinations for the young of Inverclyde, by instilling hope and belief underpinned by technical and meta-skills.

The idea has been created by Mick O’Connor, a former Glasgow Incorporation of Hammermen Prince Phillip prize winner, who grew up in Belville Street in Greenock and started his career as an apprentice welder at Scott Lithgow in the town.

Inverclyde Makerspace will resonate with the industrial heritage of the area, offering a chance to capitalise upon skills and expertise which currently lie dormant in the area but are starting to reawaken through ventures including The Inverclyde Shed.

The Makerspace, which could bring together new technologies such as additive layer manufacturing (3D printing) together with STEM learning and traditional crafts offering an empowering opportunity, is aiming to address some of the local deprivation, in collaboration with the expertise of US-based NextFab Foundation, local knowledge, and networks.

With the project already enlisting the support of Skills Development Scotland, its steering group includes Jamie Cooke (Royal Society of Arts), Bruce Newlands (Inverclyde Shed) and Joseph Katter (Next Fab Foundation).

Reflecting on the project, Mick said: “We’ve been delighted by the response so far, we have secured most of the investment for the project feasibility study and have a few thousand pounds remaining to raise

“The project requires further financial support, and we would like to ask the wider local business community for their support in helping the Inverclyde Makerspace to progress.

“There are times in life when we just need someone to place their hand on our shoulder and to show us the way”

“The young people of Inverclyde deserve better, they have hopes, dreams and potential, however, limited opportunity to realise them. It’s now our turn to place our hands on their shoulders.”

Mick, who left Scott Lithgow in 1987 to study for an HNC at Reid Kerr College in Paisley, went on to work in oil, petrochemical, shipbuilding, aerospace, defence, aviation, energy, and manufacturing industries, and most recently the space industry as Prestwick Spaceport Programme Director.

“It is hoped to widen the scope of the Makerspace to support local residents back into employment and connected into growing industries and businesses.” Mick continued.

“One of the most dynamic new industries in Scotland is the space sector, with Glasgow building more satellites than any city outside the United States, Edinburgh developing rockets and space vehicles and data capital of Europe, and development of five Scottish Spaceports, including Prestwick less than 40 miles from the centre of Greenock.”

“The space industry may seem inaccessible to residents of Inverclyde, yet there is a gap within the sector for skilled, motivated employees across a range of skills.”

In 2016, Mick founded his own company, HAELO Consulting, specialising in helping large complex organisations develop governance, risk and compliance, GRC, sense-making capability using HAELO in-house frameworks and cloud software.

Mick was appointed by the Scottish Government to lead the development of the Aerospace, Defence, Marine and Security industrial strategy.

He is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Director, Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Trustee of the Glasgow Incorporation of Hammermen, Institute of Directors Ambassador for Glasgow and the West of Scotland, deputy chair of the Greenock and District Sea Cadets and was recently appointed as the Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University

“It would be fantastic to hear from any local businesses or investors who are keen to support this dynamic project.” Mick ended.

Anyone interesting in supporting the project can contact Mick by email.

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