Prestigious apprenticeship awards show the strength and depth of talent in STEM sectors

FIRMS investing in science, technology, engineering and maths skills are being showcased at this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Individuals and employers making the most of STEM-related apprenticeships have been shortlisted across all 10 categories.

Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprentices from companies such as Lloyds Banking Group, GSK and Sparrows Offshore Services are in the running to win awards.

Industrial biotechnology firm Ingenza, BAE Systems and JP Morgan are among the companies recognised in the apprentice employer shortlists.

All three finalists in the Apprentice Ambassador category also represent STEM occupations with roles at Howden Compressions, Zurich Insurance and the Phoenix Group.

Now in its 18th year, the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are organised by national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland. The awards bring together apprentices, employers and learning providers to celebrate the contributions apprenticeships make to the economy.

Last year’s awards also had a strong STEM element, with Fraser Wallace of aero-engineering firm GE Caledonian being named Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year, having become one of the first people to complete a Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering.

HeraldScotland:

WINNER: Fraser Wallace of aeroengineering firm GE Caledonian was named Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year in 2018.

All 27 finalists will attend this year’s ceremony on November 7 in Dundee’s Caird Hall, where the winners will be revealed. One will be named Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year 2019.

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, said: “More and more individuals and employers across Scotland are seeing the benefits of apprenticeships. “We are delivering more apprenticeships in Scotland than ever before, with a record 28,191 starts in 2018/19 and over a quarter of a million Modern and Graduate Apprentices across this administration.

“The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are a chance to celebrate the achievements of apprentices and the commitment of employers to developing their workforce.

“This year saw a record-breaking number of award nominations reflecting the growing number of apprentices and employers who are investing in their future through work-based learning.”

One organisation already seeing the benefits of apprenticeships is Glasgow-based JP Morgan, which is a finalist for both Large Employer of the Year, sponsored by SQA, and Promoting Diversity Large Employer of the Year. The firm now employs more than 2,000 technologists at its Glasgow Technology Centre who design, build and support global systems.

Robert Allan, Vice President at JP Morgan, said: “We’re fully committed to growing our presence in the city and having a successful junior talent pipeline is key to this.” In partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde, JP Morgan introduced Graduate Apprenticeships in 2015 with seven apprentices who will graduate in November.

Robert added: “We’re seeing a tangible return from Graduate Apprenticeships and are really excited about their continued growth - with a further 20 apprentices due to join us this year, taking us to a total of 57 on site.

“It’s fantastic for JP Morgan to be a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards. The event is a great opportunity to celebrate the benefits apprenticeships bring to Scotland and it’s always inspiring to hear directly from apprentices about what it means to them.”

In addition to celebrating those individuals and organisations who champion apprenticeships, award categories will applaud the significant achievements of Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprentices.

Finalist in the Graduate Apprentice Rising Star category, Bethany Welsh, is a former Civil Engineering Modern Apprentice who has progressed into a Graduate Apprenticeship with employer Balfour Beatty.

Bethany commented: “I’m delighted to be nominated for this award and to be recognised within Balfour Beatty and the construction industry.”

Hector MacAulay, Managing Director at Balfour Beatty, added: “Bethany’s nomination is fantastic recognition for her commitment to her own development and support for others in the wider apprentice network.

“Helping develop the young workforce and creating opportunities through apprenticeships and lifelong learning are critical to ensuring we leave a sustainable lasting legacy through our projects across Scotland.”

SDS’s Director of National Training Programmes, Katie Hutton, said: “The number of STEM apprenticeships in Scotland continues to grow. Four out of 10 Modern Apprenticeship starts last year were in STEM frameworks.

“The majority of all Graduate Apprenticeships are also in STEM occupations. Aligned with this growth, this year saw our highest-ever number of awards nominations and the standard was equally strong.

“The skills and commitment shown by every one of our apprentice and employer finalists is truly impressive and inspiring.”

Full details on the awards finalists in each category, booking attendance and sponsorship opportunities are available at apprenticeships.scot/awards