More than 2,500 people have applied for a place at a Highland training centre just over a month after it was launched.
Nigg Skills Academy (NSA) is at the 238-acre Nigg Energy Park on the Cromarty Firth, bought six months ago by Global Energy Group.
The first 30 apprentices have started work at the centre, which aims to provide training for 3,000 people over three years.
Apprentices at the academy are put on a 12-week fast-track course, and bosses at the centre said yesterday they had received hundreds of applications for the core welding skills of fabrication, plating and pipefitting.
NSA, set up in March and backed by £900,000 of public funds, will deliver 290 Modern Apprenticeships in its first year.
They will help to meet a need for skilled staff at the Nigg yard, where Global has estimated up to 2,000 people could be employed within four years.
NSA director Alastair Kennedy said: “This industry-led project has captured the imagination of both employers and the trainees.
“The intensive 12-week initial training programme will provide them (apprentices) with bespoke training to fit the employer’s requirements before they are released into their workplace under strict guidance and supervision.”
NSA said it would test every applicant interested in gaining a place at the academy but the sheer number of applications meant it may adopt a shift pattern, so more places would become available.
Mr Kennedy said: “Nigg at its busiest in the 1970s had a workforce of some 5,000 people on the site.
“There were maybe some doubts as to the ability, given our geography, for this area to have the skills to have a sizeable workforce again for any potential large company looking to put its footprint down in or around Nigg.”
The academy was created in partnership by the Scottish Government and Global, with £915,000 of funding from the Scottish Funding Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.