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Why I chose a QA Apprenticeship!

Posted by | 15th September 2015 | IT, Jobs, Microsoft, QA, Uncategorized

This time last year, Joanne Reid had completed her end of school examinations and was working full-time as a waitress.

Despite receiving two offers to study Marketing at university, the 17 year old decided to go down a different path to most of her peers. Preferring not to go to university, Joanne decided to start building her career and applied to become a Marketing Assistant at nSYS Services, the automated procurement and invoicing specialists in Aberdeen. She explains why she felt this was the right path for her:

“I figured out that I wasn’t too keen on the idea of University, so I thought that beginning to build my career at 17 was the best choice. I applied to become a Marketing Assistant at nSYS Services which was a 1 year apprenticeship back in July last year.”

Read more here

Apply for a QA Apprenticeship here

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How to get your first job and build the career you want

Posted by | 6th August 2015 | Across Scotland, Apprentice, Apprenticeship News, Information, Jobs, Uncategorized

Calling all 16-24 year olds: there IS work there if you are prepared to work hard for it!- Angela Middleton, founder and owner of award winning recruitment agency reveals that there is an abundance of jobs available for young people in the UK. In her new book, How to Get Your First Job and Build the Career You want’ Angela shows the reader the steps they must take if they want to guarantee employment in their dream job.

There are more ‘hidden’ vacancies than there are visible vacancies and recruiters, we see them emerge all day every day from a variety of sources. For example, large companies that run programmes for young people put in place extremely stringent selection criteria and, as a result, they often cannot fill their allocation. What they then do, right at the last minute, is loosen those criteria, and suddenly where there were no vacancies, they reappear!

With smaller companies – companies with fewer than 100 or so staff – they tend to be under great pressure because they are growing and you often find that managers have several sets of responsibilities. In these companies they are often desperate to share the load with new entrants, however they never get round to advertising for these roles because they are too busy. It’s only when someone with drive and enthusiasm presents themselves that the company owner will suddenly decide that yes they would like to take that person on, and suddenly there is a vacancy no one knew about. Sometimes these roles aren’t ‘proper’ roles at first; they are called things like work experience placements, traineeships or internships – but I very rarely, if ever, see a situation where the young person is good and shines and yet doesn’t get taken on permanently.

Another source of hidden vacancies is for graduates. Many grads believe that they have to go in via a grad scheme. So often we see this is not the case. They can enter into an entry level position, even a temp position, and then once in, prove they are good enough and get switched to the grad scheme. Temp positions via agencies are a good source too. Often we see people take a quite mundane temp role just to get some money and experience, and then once in the job they are the first to find out about a potential new vacancy and they get it before it’s advertised. Or they shine in their temp role and it’s made permanent and they start working their way up.

Interviews for one job can turn into interviews for several other different roles. Again we often see this where two people go for a role and the employer decides to take both on. These are just a few examples of hidden jobs. I am sure you will be surprised to know that between 2011 and 2014 we placed over 1,000 16–19-year-olds into companies where before we suggested the idea to the employer, there was no vacancy!

When I speak to year 11s, 12s, 13s or even grads in their first year, I always emphasise a key message; “It’s never too soon to be seeking your first job.” Just because you have another couple of years of A levels or degree study ahead of you does not mean it’s not essential to achieve a great work experience or internship placement over the holidays to set you up for getting a great job when you do actually leave school or college or university. If you are in this situation you do indeed have a bright future but that future is much closer than you think! By getting a relevant placement while on holiday you demonstrate your work ethic and industry interest to an employer very early on, and this can sometimes shortcut the job-seeking process when you leave and save you from having to start from scratch competing with the crowds who are job seeking after the leaving dates and everything becomes a lot harder.

Remember – it’s never too late! It’s amazing how many young people I meet aged 23–24 and even younger who feel they are written off and have missed the boat for all the best jobs. Absolute nonsense! We see people all the time who are disillusioned because they have done a series of dead end jobs and cannot seem to start a career. Well, if we look at it in perspective, even those people have around 50 years of working life left, and once you put it like that it really makes little difference if you are 21 or 24. The important thing is to recognise where you are and what you have to do to get where you want to be. Usually the answer to that is to get more relevant work experience and also to achieve more qualifications. This all takes time but this is crucially important, right? Therefore what could be more important? Education and study should really be a lifetime commitment; I see people who have had several careers during their lives and have trained for them all separately at different stages. So committing to some more qualifications and training at this point is imperative if it’s needed. The same goes for unpaid work experience if that is missing.

Timing is often seen as an issue, but in the UK it’s not, as the Government is very well aware of the importance of developing skills for young people and introducing them to the labour market no matter what the state of the economy. If there is a recession this is even more true and we often see schemes where, for example, they actually pay small companies a grant to create apprenticeship opportunities for young people or to upskill existing staff or to take on unemployed people. They also make it a condition when they award large contracts to large companies in all sectors and industries that a certain number of new apprentices must be taken on. All this information is in the public domain so you can research who’s just won a big contract and then contact them for new opportunities.

Q: Are you holding yourself back from job success?- Angela reveals that one of the main barriers holding young people back from employment is themselves. They are constantly telling themselves that they cannot achieve their goals. In her new book, she shows her readers how to identify and overcome these barriers.


Interested in a career in music but not getting anywhere fast? Don’t worry. Some of the greatest artists in the world started out performing on the streets.

Musicians have long busked in the hopes of making quick cash or getting their big break – and many of the world’s biggest stars started out their careers by taking to the streets to share their talent with the world.

In recent years, the trend for famous singers going undercover and performing to the public has risen. Whether it’s an experiment to see whether passers-by recognise these stars in an everyday environment, or going back to their roots to engage with their fans, here are ten of the best celebrity busking moments.

  1. Donovan
  2. Bruce Springsteen
  3. Notorious B.I.G
  4. Passenger
  5. Joshua Bell
  6. Justin Bieber
  7. Neil Young
  8. U2
  9. Nile Rodgers
  10. Paul McCartney
  11. Ed Sheeran

Click here to read their stories on The Herald

The Academy of Music and Sound in Edinburgh and Glasgow are recruiting a Music Business Apprentice now! Click here

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Jobs for boys must be for girls as well

Posted by | 14th July 2015 | Across Scotland, Apprentice, Apprenticeship News, Jobs, Uncategorized

“We need to work together to do what we can to tackle gender inequality but we also need to accept that there’s one major factor that we can’t influence and that’s personal choice.”

On an October afternoon in 2012, Malala Yousafzai – who had been sharing her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley – was shot three times.

Her actions brought equality in education to the forefront of people’s minds; it generated debate and brought about positive action. We were united in agreement that men and women should have equal access to education, no question.

But when we shift our focus from the classroom to the workplace, gender inequality seems to be accepted.

While we’ve moved forward with greater emphasis on gender equality in legislation, the issue is a tough one to crack as it goes deeper than policy.

There are structural barriers in place preventing both men and women from pursuing jobs in certain industries. It could be something as simple as the way the role is marketed or it could be as challenging as the employer’s perception of who is suitable to fill the post.

Social and cultural norms also dictate the roles men and women should fill and we seem to be reluctant to challenge those norms. For example, for girls leaving school and going on to employment, the most popular career choices are hospitality, travel and tourism, and retail, sales and marketing.

While many women opt for careers in science, they tend to follow specific roles such as veterinary medicine, midwifery or general medicine. Very few pursue careers allied to other sciences such as physics.

For boys leaving school, the most popular jobs are, unsurprisingly, construction and engineering. While the numbers of boys pursuing a career in veterinary medicine is drastically lower than girls.

This unconscious gender bias is deeply rooted long before subject choices are made at school or university applications are submitted. We, therefore, need to educate them at an early age in order to open up their minds to the possibilities available to them regardless of gender.

Read more on the Scotsman here

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Whistle and learn while you work

Posted by | 26th June 2015 | Across Scotland, Apprentice, Apprenticeship News, Jobs, Landbased, Lantra, Uncategorized

Game and Wildlife modern apprentice Callum Low from Arbroath is one of many young Scots choosing a vocational route into work.

The recent winner of Lantra Scotland’s Land-based Learner of the Year Award has championed Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Scheme which offers new and existing employees the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications in the workplace, without the need for full-time study.

Callum has taken full advantage of the scheme, which has helped him excel as an apprentice gamekeeper at Invermark Estate, the 55,000 acre sporting estate in the heart of Angus, owned by Lord Dalhousie.

He is currently undertaking his Modern Apprenticeship Level 2 in gamekeeping.

Callum has developed into one of Invermark Estate star apprentices and was recently rewarded for his efforts by winning the top accolade at the Lantra Awards as well as the Game and Wildlife Learner of the Year and Modern Apprentice of the Year awards.

Callum said: “It was great to be recognised for my efforts and win these awards.

“The Modern Apprenticeship Scheme is a great way to start your career.


Comments Off on #FuturesToShoutAbout


Posted by | 19th June 2015 | Across Scotland, Apprentice, Apprenticeship News, IT, Jobs, QA, Uncategorized

Futures to Shout About

Have you chosen the right path to the future you want?

It can be daunting thinking about leaving the route you’ve chosen, even if you know deep down that it’s not quite right. But there is another way.

Have you settled for 6th form or university? Ask yourself whether you really need to spend another few years in the classroom when you could start your dream career right now.

Are you stuck in a job with no future? Ask yourself if the job you have is leading you into the future career that you want.

Whatever your situation now, if you want a future to shout about choose an apprenticeship with QA and apply today.

Launch your future

QA Apprenticeships is the biggest & best tech, digital and IT apprenticeships business.

Hundreds of employers hiring now – QA have 100s of live jobs at any one time and recruit all year round, so there’s no need to wait till September to start your career

Earn £150-£250 per week – QA Apprentices start earning from day one, and could even earn £42k per year after their apprenticeship as they progress up in their IT career

94% go on to full-time jobs – QA Apprentices have a better chance of finding a job immediately after their apprenticeship than graduates from most top universities

You are more likely to succeed – QA Apprentices have an 84% success rate (11% above national average for apprenticeships)

Apply Now