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National Campaign Says Apprenticeships Are The Business

11th March 2018

Photograph of National Campaign Says Apprenticeships Are The Business

Scottish Apprenticeship Week is the nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices.

Kirkhill teen Rhona Lee has discovered the formula for an exciting STEM career and it all starts with a Foundation Apprenticeship.

The budding geneticist has chosen to do a Scientific Technologies Foundation Apprenticeship as one of her S5 subject choices.

Foundation Apprenticeships combine learning at college with a significant work placement. They're open to pupils in the senior phase at secondary school, usually take two years to complete and result in a qualification similar to a Higher.

Rhona said: "I’d been researching different options online and came across the Foundation Apprenticeship on The Foundation Apprenticeship appealed to me because it’s more practical. I’m not very good at sitting and learning from textbooks. It’s also good to get practical experience as you don’t get as much of that in school."

Charleston Academy pupil Rhona goes to Inverness College UHI every Friday, as well as studying towards Highers in human biology, Gaelic and art and National 5 qualifications in maths and German.

The 16-year-old will be going out on placement with a local employer, something which she’s really looking forward to.

“I think that the placement will give me an idea of what science is like in a practical, working environment,” said Rhona, who hopes to go to university after finishing school next year. “It’ll make me stand out when I apply for jobs in the future.”

Rhona’s Foundation Apprenticeship covers elements of all the different sciences and gives her a chance to do practical experiments in the lab. She says she’s learning much more than the skills to thrive in a scientific career.

Rhona explained: “The Foundation Apprenticeship has really helped my confidence. You have to talk to different people. You have to do a lot more for yourself than you do in school. it’s great for your confidence.

“I really enjoy learning in the college environment. It’s much more independent. I definitely prefer it to school. It’s preparing me for leaving school at the end of sixth year too.”

Inverness College offers Foundation Apprenticeships for local pupils in six different subject areas and, according to Inverness College’s Developing the Young Workforce Programme Manager, Lorraine Andrews, the programme is really benefiting the young participants.

Lorraine said: “We think that the Foundation Apprenticeship is the perfect combination of being able to continue with your studies academically and an amazing opportunity to get out in the workplace, be with employers and build up all the other soft skills that are required for he world of work. It’s a great transition from school to whatever they want to do next.

“Rhona will be going out to her work place in June. She’ll be in a real lab environment and that’s going to put her in a very strong position for whatever she decides to do in the future.”

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 took place from 5 to 9 March.

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