After a Foundation Apprenticeship won him  a place on Scotland’s prestigious CodeClan Summer Youth Academy, ex-Musselburgh Grammar pupil Milo Mitchell gained vital work experience within the competitive technology sector 

 

PUPILS across Scotland are getting set for a big future with Foundation Apprenticeships, which give senior phase pupils an inside view of thriving sectors such as science, engineering and technology. 
Foundation Apprenticeships mix a recognised qualification with valuable experience in industries where there’s a rising demand for a skilled workforce.  
For pupils going into S5 or S6, there’s still time to apply for a Foundation Apprenticeship to get work experience with some of Scotland’s top employers.
Milo Mitchell’s Foundation Apprenticeship opened doors to support his future career – and after leaving school he is using the skills he gained to get a head start in business.

The former Musselburgh Grammar pupil says the hands-on work experience he got on his Business Skills apprenticeship has boosted his collaboration and problem-solving abilities as well as growing his network of contacts.

His experience helped land him a place on the prestigious CodeClan Summer Youth Academy, where he studied software development before a paid internship with a digital design agency in Edinburgh – offering him a foot in the door of an exciting sector and bolstering his CV.

Milo, 17, worked with small and large businesses and schools on digital marketing projects through his placement with East Lothian Works during the apprenticeship, taken as a subject in his final two years at school alongside Highers in English, Art, Philosophy and Music.

He said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship was such a great way of understanding the businesses and feeling confident enough to actively make decisions, take on projects and contribute. 

“To me that was what solidified the meaning of the apprenticeship and how much it stood out to me compared to other subjects at school. 

“Just being used to the school environment, I didn’t know how jobs worked – on a Foundation Apprenticeship you have problems and you deal with them. It was an amazing experience.”

Milo’s first project on the apprenticeship involved collating a database of business Twitter accounts in East Lothian and matching the firms up to schools to explore what courses, placements or apprenticeships they could offer local pupils.

Sectors covered included hospitality and event management, with firms ranging from small operations to big businesses such as Morrison Construction. 

The experience – initially conducted with his learning provider Limelight Careers over Zoom calls during the pandemic – involved managing multiple stakeholders, working out the logistics of partnerships and presenting his findings to the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) team.

Another project involved conducting research with schools to explore how newsletters could maximise delivery of information to pupils on work and training opportunities. The outcome was his idea to develop a single newsletter to be sent to every school in East Lothian.

Milo, who is now considering a Modern Apprenticeship in Financial Services, added: “The experience I gained on my Foundation Apprenticeship has given my CV such a leg-up compared to some of my friends, whose only employment skills were weekend jobs. An apprenticeship is not like a degree where you’re doing one thing for years on end and then you’ll get a placement. You see your work happening. 

“Having the responsibility and power to manage projects and deliver results, that was where the fundamental love for business came in. 

“I don’t want to limit myself – I can go anywhere with this.”

Chosen as a subject in senior phase, Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6 give pupils time with a learning provider – such as a college – and industry experience that leads directly to a qualification at the same level as a Higher.

Elaine Gorman, DYW schools coordinator at East Lothian Works, said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship gave Milo a really useful platform from which to build his connections with businesspeople from a range of sectors including travel and tourism, local government, hospitality and software.”  

Milo was attracted to the CodeClan Youth Academy as he wanted to gain an understanding of software development and data, either to enter that sector or add to his suite of business skills. The Academy was followed by a paid internship at The Lane digital marketing agency in Leith, Edinburgh.

Aileen O’Hagan, Initiatives Manager at CodeClan, said: “Work-based learning is hugely beneficial to prepare young people for the world of work. 
“The experience Milo has gained through a Foundation Apprenticeship demonstrated his willingness to learn, his strong work ethic and problem-solving skills.” 

Visit apprenticeships.scot/foundation to find out what’s available in your school and apply online

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Changing jobs was a lesson in fulfilment

FORMER scientific officer Jamie McKinven, pictured below, is about to start his journey towards becoming a teacher thanks to the support from the STEM Bursary.

HeraldScotland:

Funded by the Scottish Government, and administered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the £20,000 bursary supports people looking to change careers and become secondary school teachers of in-demand Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) subjects.

During the pandemic Jamie, who is 31 and lives in Edinburgh, asked himself if he was actually helping others at his job. Jamie said: “I wanted to give something back, help others and I thought teaching was a good way to do that.”  

Prior to starting his Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), Jamie worked at EPP, a contract research company. 

He said: “I joined them as a Quality Assurance Officer, ensuring projects were up to company standards. After some time, I moved into working more in the lab as a Scientific Officer, making and analysing chemicals.” 

One of Jamie’s main worries when considering changing careers was the financial aspect. He said: “When I was thinking about changing careers, I was researching how to do it financially and I found out about the STEM bursary.

“If it weren’t for the bursary, I wouldn’t have been able to do the course. I thought I wouldn’t be able to fully commit to the teacher training if I had to keep working full time on the side.” 

Jamie has now completed his teacher training and will start his probationary year in a few weeks.  

He said: “I am both excited and nervous to start. I will be teaching Chemistry and Science, depending on the age of the students. I have a degree and a PHD in Chemistry, so it is something I love and have experience in.” 

Jamie studied his PGDE in secondary education at Edinburgh Napier University. 

He added: “I hadn’t studied a taught degree for almost 10 years, so it was interesting to see how things have changed. There is a lot more technology involved, and it is very varied, not just tutorials but a mixture of different activities too.” 

Edinburgh Napier is one of nine universities offering the bursary to students. Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Highlands and Islands, Strathclyde, Queen Margaret and West of Scotland are also participating. 

Jamie said: “To others who are thinking about going into teaching I say to be prepared to work hard and don’t take it for granted. 

“It is hard work, but it is very rewarding. You get back what you put in and you are not just working hard for nothing, you are working hard for a good reason, a good cause and it is quite fulfilling because of that. I recommend people to apply for a STEM bursary. All my interactions with the STEM bursary have been great and it is also quite an easy process to apply.”

STEM Bursaries support career changers to retrain as teachers in STEM subjects and is one of the actions under the STEM Education and Training Strategy. To find out more and apply to the Bursary scheme, visit stembursaryscotland.co.uk