O-I’s glassmaking plant in Alloa, Scotland, is demonstrating how to cultivate a future-ready workforce through innovative apprenticeship programmes and partnerships.

While the plant boasts a rich history of nearly 275 years, O-I said it recognises the necessity of fresh perspectives to thrive in the ever-evolving glassmaking industry.

James Keegans, UK People & Culture leader at O-I, highlighted: “The business moves incredibly fast, and we need young people to be part of our diverse workforce to support us with that change.”

Building the pipeline

The Alloa plant implements a two-pronged approach:

Apprenticeship programmes: O-I offers electrical and engineering apprenticeships, equipping participants with the necessary skills for a successful career.

School engagement: Through interactive school visits and collaboration with local institutions, O-I fosters student recruitment and provides mentorship opportunities.

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Investing in the community

Susan Lyall, O-I UK operations leader, emphasised the programme’s impact, stating:

“We are committed to our apprentice programme, we welcome and develop about four apprentices each year and train them for four years to become true professionals in their jobs. After they graduated, we typically offer them career opportunities and continuous training to further develop their skills.”

“We also work with local schools, government agencies like DYW (Developing the Young Workforce) here in Scotland but also with career-ready programmes locally, with, for instance, employees mentoring local students,” added Lyall.

Building a sustainable future

Gary Little, O-I process engineering manager, emphasised the importance of integrating young minds: “It’s massively important. We’re one of the biggest employers…I don’t think many young people at school understand what being an engineer in our work means to the place, not just to the business.”

O-I’s initiative extends beyond simply filling open positions. It signifies a dedication to the community’s well-being and the long-term sustainability of the glassmaking industry.

By fostering young talent through apprenticeships and partnerships, O-I ensures a skilled workforce, bolstering Clackmannanshire’s economic and social development in the process.

This strategic approach serves as a model for businesses to invest in their future and the communities they operate within.