OVER the last few weeks, school pupils in 5th and 6th year across the country have been awarded Foundation Apprenticeship qualifications ahead of receiving their exam results. These pupils chose to take a Foundation Apprenticeship as a subject alongside their Highers and Nationals. 

The vital element of completing their qualification, which is at the same level of learning as a Higher, was gaining work-based learning with employers in 12 key growth sectors such as Scientific Technologies, Civil Engineering and IT. 

At the start of the year, Skills Development Scotland supported the Scottish Government’s ambition to provide up to 5000 more Foundation Apprenticeship opportunities for young pupils in 2019.

As a result, there are now more opportunities for employers to take on Foundation Apprentices in the regions they work in, and engage with young people in their communities, give them experience and skills in their sector and attract a pipeline of talent.

Employers currently supporting Foundation Apprenticeships are investing in them in recognition of the long-term benefits they can bring to the business.

Having taken on their first Foundation Apprentices last year, McTaggart Construction has plans to take on more pupils when the new school year starts in August. It has looked to offer opportunities across a number of vocational routes within its business, such as Creative and Digital Media and Civil Engineering.

Ross Hammill, Sustainable Communities Programme Manager said: “We see Foundation Apprenticeships as a key element of our talent pipeline mix, alongside other traditional academic and vocational routes. The construction industry needs many more confident, hardworking young people across all disciplines to address the current skills shortage we face. 

“The world of work can be a shock to a lot of school leavers, therefore Foundation Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to gain a true understanding of a potential career path before they’ve even left school.”

A number have already seen the benefits by giving Foundation Apprentices the opportunity to progress on to Modern Apprenticeships or other jobs within their business. 

Irvine engineering apprentice, Fraser Wallace’s career has taken off since he started on his Foundation Apprenticeship at Ayrshire College, as a Greenwood Academy pupil, gaining work-based learning with aviation experts GE Caledonian as part of his qualification. 

The 18 year-old has now landed a Modern Apprenticeship with the firm, enabling him to work, earn and learn, after impressing the bosses with his performance and passion for the job.

Stephen McNab of GE Caledonian feels Foundation Apprenticeships give young people a vehicle to take them from a school environment to the workplace, while gaining vital skills. 

Explains Stephen: “It is also about Foundation Apprenticeships giving us a solid talent pipeline a year in advance. We get an idea of peoples’ potential a year earlier and, without a doubt, it helps us find the right people.”

To find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships and how to get involved visit www.apprenticeships.scot/fa


Recognise the value of apprentices

THERE’S still time for employers to recognise talented apprentices and those that support them through the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Now in their 18th year, the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are organised by national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland, and aim to celebrate the continued growth and diversity of apprenticeships. The event also helps demonstrate the benefits apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and the wider economy.

Award categories recognise the achievements of Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprentices, as well as applaud those individuals and organisations who champion apprenticeships.
Awards are also presented to large employers and SMEs that invest in apprenticeships and recognise the value they bring to their businesses.

Automotive company, Arnold Clark has a long-running commitment to training apprentices and sees such apprentices as the lifeblood of its company and vital to future success.  It was this commitment and passion which saw the organisation named Large Employer of the Year, while also being nominated for Diversity Employer of the Year, at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards last November.

The company’s dedicated training business, GTG Training, has been responsible for bringing on talent over the last 15 years.

Arnold Clark also now offer apprenticeships in retail, garage equipment engineering, security systems engineering and IT. There is a key focus on promoting diversity among apprentices to help increase the 25% female workforce within the organisation.
Award winners will be revealed at a national ceremony in November and one will be named Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year 2019.  Deadline for online entries is noon on Wednesday, 26 June.

For more information about categories and to nominate visit  www.apprenticeships.scot/events/awards