02 Mar 2018
Scottish Apprenticeship Week is the nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices.
Organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the campaign theme for 2018 is ‘Apprenticeships are the Business’.
Employers will learn about the benefits of work-based learning from apprentices and businesses through activities and events that will take place nationwide.
SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates, said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week highlights the commitment of businesses who have decided to invest in the skills of their workforce.
“It also shows the success of individuals who have chosen work-based learning through an apprenticeship to get a qualification and develop their careers.
“From Shetland to the Borders, employers across Scotland are seeing the business benefits of taking on apprentices.
“With support from Skills Development Scotland and new types of apprenticeships available this year, there’s never been a better time to get involved in work-based learning.”
Around 12,000 organisations already employ Modern Apprentices, from family firms to multi-nationals across every type of business.
New Foundation Apprenticeships are for school pupils to choose alongside their other school subjects, while Graduate Apprenticeships allow employees to get qualified up to Master’s degree level.
Scottish Apprenticeship Week takes place from 5 to 9 March.
Find out more at www.apprenticeships.scot
Local case study
Glasgow school pupil Rabiya Sikander has gone from repairing bikes and dismantling games consoles at home to learning how to hacksaw, measure out materials and use impressive industry-standard machinery, thanks to an engineering Foundation Apprenticeship.
Rabiya, 16, said: “I love making things and experimenting. That’s why engineering and the Foundation Apprenticeship appealed to me, the practical side of it – it’s really interesting.”
Foundation Apprenticeships are open to young people in fifth and sixth year at secondary school. Pupils can take a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of their subject choices, resulting in a qualification similar to a Higher. It combines college-style learning with a significant work placement, giving pupils a chance to put their learning to use.
Notre Dame High School pupil Rabiya attends City of Glasgow College’s state of the art Riverside campus two afternoons a week, and she will go out on placement next year to get a taste of the workplace. She says that the course has been a positive step for her.
“Coming from an all-girls school, I was nervous to start with,” she admitted. “I’ve never been in a teaching environment where I was working with boys. When I did come, though, I realised it’s not so bad. With the Foundation Apprenticeship, I’ve learned lots of new skills that I didn’t think I was capable of learning, and doing things that I never thought I’d do.”
The teenager originally had ambitions of a childcare career, but a search on the Skills Development Scotland website brought the Foundation Apprenticeship to her attention – and she reckoned that the hands-on nature of the engineering qualification would be right up her street.
Rabiya, who lives in Bridgeton, is now keen to move on to study an HNC in mechanical engineering when she finishes school, and then to apply for a Modern Apprenticeship in petroleum engineering.
She said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship has made me realise that by getting a head-start in mechanical engineering at school, I can do lots of different things. It opens a gate to a wide variety of options.”
She says that the apprenticeship has also increased her independence, and made her take a bit more responsibility for her learning – and her future career.
“In school, if you’re stuck, the teacher explains it and gives you the answer anyway,” she said. “But in college, it’s totally different. When it gets explained, the lecturer doesn’t just give you the answer. They explain it, then you need to figure it out yourself. You’re learning, but you’re treated like an adult.”
John Sweeney, Curriculum Head of Engineering and Energy at City of Glasgow College, says that the Foundation Apprenticeship programme is playing an important role in preparing young people like Rabiya for the world of work.
John said: “The ability to work with other students, the ability to be responsible for their own work – the Foundation Apprentices develop so quickly. They’re in an adult environment – they learn research skills, they learn communication skills, they learn teamwork skills. And that’s what employers want – they want soft skills. The Foundation Apprenticeship is very beneficial.”