Scottish Apprenticeship Week


Friday 4th March saw Modern Apprenticeship week close on a high at Marston’s Pubs Queen Of The Loch in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire with a visit from MSP Jackie Baillie. MGT Training candidates had the opportunity to showcase the qualifications they are currently working towards as part of their development at Marston’s. MSP Jackie Baillie was very interested in the courses being completed and the Marston’s candidates thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to discuss their course and appreciated the time given by Jackie.

MSP Jackie Baillie was particularly interested in the fact that mother and son, Christine and Alex Rennie were both completing a qualification with MGT Training. This highlighted that Modern Apprenticeships in hospitality are open to all age ranges and everyone can benefit from them.

MGT Training work with companies like Marston’s Pubs and are recruiting for apprentices in Hospitality, Travel/Tourism, Food and Drink and Customer Service. Register your interest here.



From mid-March to the end of May, SQA will welcome applications from candidates for its 2016 Modern Apprentice positions.During this time, the organisation will hold an open event at its Lowden office near Dalkeith to pupils who are due to leave school this year.

Meanwhile a similar drive will continue in Glasgow; with SQA also attending the Glasgow Guarantee recruitment fair on 07 March.

As part of the recruitment activity, SQA has also produced a short film featuring current Modern Apprentices talking about what they enjoy most about working and training with SQA.

Sean Gartland was SQA’s first Modern Apprentice to have been offered a permanent position after completing his training.  Sean now works as a Customer Service Operator within SQA’s Business Development and Customer Service Team.

Sean said: “I was told about SQA’s Modern Apprenticeship scheme by my careers advisor at school.  I thought it sounded like an interesting opportunity, and when I was told that I would be able to study for an HNC at college and towards a SVQ while I was working, I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Sean continued: “It’s been a really interesting couple of years.  I worked across a number of departments during my training, but now I’m back in the Customer Service Team, dealing with enquiries and helping our customers, which is the part of the job I really enjoy.”

For more information about Modern Apprenticeships at SQA and how to apply for them, visit

Scottish Apprenticeship Week runs from Monday 29 February to Friday 04 March. For more information, visit

Apprenticeships in Scotland, a leading Scottish independent youth vacancy handling service, to be showcased as a success story in China. 

The European Commission recently featured Apprenticeships in Scotland as a case study example of a successful project linked with apprenticeships in the European Union. The case study featured in their policy advice publication on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships entitled ‘Good for Youth, Good for Business’.

This publication focuses on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships launched in 2013 and addresses the challenges and possible answers of how to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships across Europe. This is also in line with the new set of medium-term deliverables agreed at European level in the field of Vocation Education and Training for the period 2015-2020.

Following its release in July 2015, it has been announced that the publication will now be translated into Chinese to enable the Chinese Authorities to promote the European Alliance for Apprenticeships outside of Europe. This will significantly widen the reach of apprenticeships in the EU and indeed the success of Apprenticeships in Scotland.

Shannen Scott, Head of Operations at Apprenticeships in Scotland is central to the case study. It tracks her journey from college, to her apprenticeship in Business and Enterprise, to becoming head of the flourishing social enterprise.

Shannen was the first person in the UK to successfully complete an apprenticeship in Business and Enterprise and received her certificate at the European Parliament in Brussels in 2014. Since then, a further 20 young people in Fife have completed the qualification as part of Fife Council’s Culture of Enterprise initiative.

Speaking about the announcement, Shannen said:

“It is fantastic that Apprenticeships in Scotland has been featured in a European-wide policy publication. It highlights the work we do to support young people in Scotland and also the advancement in the youth labour market throughout Scotland in general.

“Apprenticeships in Scotland has gone from strength-to-strength since launching in 2009. Operating as a social enterprise, the website helps around 5000 young scots get their foot on the employment ladder each year.

“We support employers and training providers with bespoke recruitment campaigns as well as brand awareness for their apprenticeship schemes.”

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, Apprenticeships in Scotland have launched a new service, the ‘APlayer’, sponsored by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Royal Bank of Scotland. The APlayer is a video channel specifically dedicated to apprenticeship related video content, from all sectors.

The APlayer has launched with more than 50 apprenticeship related videos from a variety of employers and training providers across Scotland including SQA, RBS, QA, GSK, SSE, Sky, Deloitte and Superdrug. The purpose of the video channel is to provide young people with an easily accessible resource of information on the different apprenticeship opportunities there are throughout the country.

Commenting on being a main sponsor of the APlayer launch, Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive said:

“SQA is delighted to be supporting Apprenticeships in Scotland, particularly during Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Week. SQA is proud to be at the heart of the education and skills system in Scotland and is committed to play its part in supporting and encouraging young people through their journey from school into training, further and higher education or into employment.

“As a national employer, we are determined to ensure that young people across our local communities have the opportunity to reach their own individual goals, either through our qualifications or by coming to work with us as Modern Apprentices.”

To view the APlayer, please visit

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What will we be doing for Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016?

Posted by | 23rd February 2016 | Across Scotland, Apprenticeship News, Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Uncategorized


To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, we have been sharing a three-part blog series highlighting both our activities and the significant milestones in the youth labour market since the launch of Scottish Apprenticeship Week in 2011. Part-one described key activities during 2012, through the eyes of Apprenticeships in Scotland’s Head of Operations Shannen Scott. During part-two, Shannen focused on 2013-14 which were a big few years for both Apprenticeships in Scotland and the youth labour market in general.

Part-three will summarise our apprenticeship activities from last year and also shout about what we are going to be doing for this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2015

During Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2015 we launched our very first online careers magazine to help school leavers with their future career pathway decisions. The magazine featured after exam guidance and tips for young people applying for jobs as well as information on live apprenticeship schemes in Scotland.

Last year was a positive and bright year for apprenticeships as there was a significant breakthrough with MA’s as CIPD research showed that 8 in 10 organisations now employ at least one young person. This was good news as an additional 500 places were funded over the next year as Nicola Sturgeon announced a £3.8 million investment into Modern Apprenticeships allowing employers to recruit more than just one young person!

The perception of apprenticeships and vocational training was changing and were getting looked at more closely in terms of quality and equality. £500,000 was pledged to promote equality and support women and minority groups into MA’s. To provide a better start for young people in their career, the National Minimum Wage for apprentices rose by 20% in October 2015.

Following on from our European visit in 2014, Apprenticeships in Scotland featured in the European Alliance for Apprenticeships publication “Good for Youth, Good for Business” as a success story.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016

During Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, Apprenticeships in Scotland will launch a new service, the ‘APlayer’. The ‘APlayer’ will be a video channel solely dedicated to apprenticeship related video content, from all sectors. The channel will go live on Monday 29th February 2016, with users able to view an array of apprenticeship related videos.

The purpose of the ‘APlayer’ is to provide our audience with an easy way of accessing fantastic video content on the one channel. The young people that access our site to source fantastic opportunities in the youth labour market will be able to learn about different employers, apprenticeship schemes, school leaver programmes and view case studies of young apprentices to hear first-hand what it is like to be an apprentice.

The channel will also provide employers a space to promote their apprentice recruitment messages for free to showcase their organisation. With over 190,000 page visits per month to, the APlayer provides a simple method which will maximise the potential of a video’s important message being viewed.

Check back in next Monday to see the channel live!

During Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 there are many fantastic events taking place right across the country. Visit to full view details of what is happening near you! Don’t forget to take part in the online conversation surrounding apprenticeships using #ScotMAWeek16.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog series ‘Scottish Apprenticeship Week – Celebrating 5 Years’. It has certainly been an exciting 5 years for Apprenticeships in Scotland and we look forward to celebrating many more Scottish Apprenticeship Weeks in the years to come!

If you would like to find out more information about the APlayer, please visit or contact the team on 01334 844 860.


Apprenticeships 100 years ago

Throughout time, employers have always considered apprenticeships to be a beneficial method of training. 100 years ago, apprenticeships were predominantly centred around artisan trades – this changed during the 20th century as employer growth occurred and newer industries evolved such as engineering and shipbuilding.

In 2014, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) commissioned Professor of History at the University of Lincoln, Krista Cowman, to study historical records and prepare an overview of early 20th Century apprenticeships.

There were notable differences apprentices faced 100 years ago:

  • Apprentices performing below par, according to their bosses, could actually be summoned to appear in court! This included turning up to work late, being ‘idle’ in the workplace or just having a bad attitude. The maximum punishment was three months imprisonment.Today, apprentices in Scotland receive fantastic support and representation from the newly formed National Society of Apprentices who aim to represent apprentices and help make apprenticeships in Scotland the best they can be.
  • Whilst employers 100 years ago saw the value in training their apprentices, funding arrangements were a lot different from what we see today. Apprentices were ‘indentured’, meaning they were legally required to work for an employer for a number of years and they also had to pay a fee to their employer to cover the cost of training and tools.Government funding today helps both employers and apprentices with the burden of training costs. Tools and uniform are generally supplied nowadays as well to ensure apprentices have all they need to make a positive start in their newly chosen career.
  • The majority of young people entering apprenticeships were aged 15-17 and women only made up 22% of apprentices!
  • Engineering and Construction featured prominently as the most popular types of apprenticeships 100 years ago. Similarly today these two sectors remain as popular as ever, however sectors are now more varied and new apprenticeship frameworks are developed year on year.

See the table below for a comparison of the top 5 most popular apprenticeships now and then based on Professor Cowman’s research and Apprenticeships in Scotland’s website analytical information.


What we can see from this research is that industries and trades have certainly evolved over the past 100 years. Despite this, the need for skilled labour is still as relevant today as it was back then. With ever-growing employer support and government backing, apprenticeships remain today a vital cog in the UK economy.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 will take place from 29th February – 4th March and will be a fantastic time to highlight the ongoing progress as well as the prominence of apprenticeships in Scotland. We will be launching our new service the ‘APlayer’ during Scottish Apprenticeship Week which is a video channel featuring apprenticeship related video content from all sectors. Check back in on February 29th to see it live in action!

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The Journey Continues! – Our Journey Through Scottish Apprenticeship Week

Posted by | 15th February 2016 | Across Scotland, Apprenticeship News, Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Uncategorized


To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, we will be sharing a three-part blog series highlighting both our activities and the significant milestones in the youth labour market since the launch of Scottish Apprenticeship Week in 2011. Part-one described key activities during 2012, through the eyes of Apprenticeships in Scotland’s Head of Operations Shannen Scott.
During part-two, Shannen will focus on 2013-14 which were a big few years for both Apprenticeships in Scotland and the youth labour market in general.

Scottish Apprenticeships Week 2013
Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2013 was a big year for marketing the real benefits of recruiting young people as the “Make Young People Your Business” campaign launched in Scotland. The initiative was promoted nationally and encouraged employers to think about employing young people into their workforce. During Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Apprenticeships in Scotland supported SDS’s campaign by encouraging our employer database to consider recruiting an apprentice into their workforce.

As usual, it was another big year for Apprenticeships in Scotland as well. We wanted to keep the momentum going with supporting activities to raise awareness of apprenticeships. A major part of communicating the variety of apprenticeship opportunities available to young people was to highlight the key sectors in Scotland. There were 63,400 people directly employed in the energy sector in Scotland in 2012, accounting for 3% of all Scottish jobs, according to Scottish Government growth sector statistics.

I took this as an opportunity to do something about encouraging women into the energy industry and started speaking with EU Skills, the industry body for energy and utilities, to see how I could get involved. I got involved in their annual steering group to discuss encouraging young people into the industry. As a result of this I was asked to present at a UK wide employer and university forum to share my journey as an apprentice and announce my support of being the first dedicated youth opportunities advisor for the energy sector.

The focus on sectors snowballed as a result of QA Apprenticeships launching their initiative to enrol 2016 Microsoft MA’s by 2016 to help fill the skills gap in the ICT industry. Apprenticeships in Scotland were delighted to be the main recruitment partner for this initiative and have been helping them source high quality candidates since 2012.

2013 was a significant breakthrough in the Scottish labour market as Sir Ian Wood published the Interim Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce report which attracted national awareness. This was a huge success for Scotland, and a very big milestone for Apprenticeships in Scotland.

Apprenticeships in Scotland are mentioned as best practice for a national online modern apprenticeship application service in Recommendation 7.

“Development of Modern Apprenticeship access processes and progression pathways should be prioritised. A national online Modern Apprenticeship application service should be developed in which all employers and prospective apprentices should have the option of participating. There has been consistent concern about the difficulty many young people face in accessing a Modern Apprenticeship. It shouldn’t be difficult to set up a relevant service to aid young people seeking an apprenticeship and to help employers looking to recruit. Indeed, the third sector organisation Apprenticeships in Scotland, led by young people themselves, already provides a template for such a service.”

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014
During Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014 Apprenticeships in Scotland celebrated the launch of Fife’s Apprenticeships in Enterprise pilot supported by Fife Council. As a result of the first 5 graduates from the Apprenticeships in Enterprise programme, we were granted funding for a further 19 places by Fife Council to support their Culture for Enterprise Initiative.

After all of Career Studio’s hard work in previous years we expanded our team and expertise with additional staff members which enabled us to launch a brand new and improved website!

In April 2014 the final Wood Commission report “Education Working For All!” was published and a significant 7 year agenda was proposed for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce. The target was set for a 40% cut in Youth Unemployment by 2021. Business Secretary Vince Cable was seen publicly on ITV news supporting apprenticeships as a valuable route for a young person leaving school versus university.

The importance of young people being represented in vocational training had come to the attention of the National Union of Students. I was lucky enough to be involved in the formation of the National Society of Apprentices (NSoA) Scotland and was appointed chair of the leadership team. Following the announcement of the launch of the NSoA Scotland the Scottish Government extended the age limit for the Youth Employment Fund so those over 25 could access funding from local authorities. This created an additional 13,000 places for those aged 25-30.

This was a big year for both Apprenticeships in Scotland and me; we celebrated me being the first person in Scotland to complete an enterprise apprenticeship by being awarded my certificate at the European Parliament. During my trip to Brussels I signed our pledge to the European Alliance for Apprenticeships to support young people access youth opportunities and to also support SME’s with finding the right young people. The great news didn’t end there as I was a finalist for the Young Scot Awards (Enterprise Category) and was also a finalist for Enterprising Learner of the Year UK. 2014 was truly the year of the apprentice! Continuing the awards theme, Career Studio was awarded with the Gold award from Investors in Young People.

Finally, to continue our support for apprenticeships I presented on the panel at the Developing Young People’s Skills: Vocational Education, Partnerships and MA’s conference following the DSYW report. This was not only a significant step forward in my career from apprentice to a young professional but also in making a step forward in how Apprenticeships in Scotland are a key partner to contribute to the Scottish Government’s agenda for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

The last part of this blog series will be published on 22nd February where I will be talking about Scottish Apprenticeship Week last year and what we are planning for this year!

Missed part one? Don’t worry you can view this here.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media to keep up to date with Apprenticeships in Scotland.

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Part 1 of 3

Scottish Apprenticeship Week – Celebrating 5 years!

This year we are celebrating 5 years of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of apprenticeships within young people and employers.

The first Scottish Apprenticeship Week was launched by Skills Development Scotland on 5th-9th September in 2011 to highlight the real benefits a business can gain by recruiting apprentices. Apprenticeships in Scotland were excited about this and of course had to join in the activities. For many years we have been actively promoting apprenticeships to both young people and employers across Scotland, representing a youth voice for vocational training and as a result creating new apprenticeship opportunities.

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, Shannen Scott (Head of Apprenticeships in Scotland) will share a three-part blog series highlighting both hers and Apprenticeships in Scotland’s activities, as well as the significant milestones in the youth labour market since the launch of Scottish Apprenticeship Week in 2011.

Part one will highlight some key occasions during 2012, kicking off with Scottish Apprenticeship Week!

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2012
I started my apprenticeship with Career Studio (Scotland) Ltd in May 2012 slap bang in the middle of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2012. I was employed as a Business Enterprise Apprentice, a role created as a result of a brand new social enterprise project called Apprenticeships in Scotland. Young people were employed to run and grow the company which launched in 2009.

Apprenticeships in Scotland had already established a name for itself when I joined the team. Just a few months prior to me beginning my career, Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance visited our office to learn more about the work we were doing for Scottish young people. She had a big role to play in achieving the Scottish Government target of 25,000 MA starts.

My role became evidently more important as the year went on when I was provided the opportunity to represent an apprentice’s journey and speak with teachers and education providers at the Scottish Learning Festival. It was important to talk about the real benefits of young people completing a vocational qualification directly to the people helping them make their career choices throughout S1 – S6.

We not only talked the talk, but we walked the walk too! Thrown in at the deep end at the age of 19 I attended my first Youth Employment Conference, meeting professionals that had been in the business for over 20 years. I represented a youth voice for key policy issues surrounding apprenticeships at the conference; together with my colleagues, we were the only young people there.

The journey continued around Scotland and I was wheeled out to yet another event on my own! I hosted a networking table at the annual STF conference to present to Scottish Training Providers about how we could work together to help young people access high quality apprenticeships and also help employers navigate the tricky apprenticeship landscape. Later, we met with Chief Executive Colin Dalrymple to formalise a service offering for STF members.

Finally in 2012 we launched our own Apprenticeship in Enterprise scheme in partnership with Fife Council, a first for Scotland.

Next week in part-two I will speak about some key highlights from 2013 and 2014!


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Apprenticeships of the week #FridayFeeling

Posted by | 29th January 2016 | #FridayFeeling, Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Uncategorized

Tips for attending interviews

It can be scary when you go to your first interview but by taking advice and following these tips you can survive.

What does it all mean?  If you’ve been invited to an interview it means that ‘on paper’ the employer thinks that you could do their job.  The interview process is for the employer to meet with you and usually to compare you to similar candidates and choose the one they think will perform the best and fit in with their team.

Remember it’s a two way process – not only is the employer deciding if you’re ‘the one’ for them, you are also judging if they are the right employer for you.  It can talk some of the pressure off to think that you’re interviewing them too.  You need to be able to picture yourself in that workplace and imagine how that would feel.  If you get an opportunity to look around and meet some of the current staff remember to smile and look interested, they could be your future work colleagues!

What shall I wear?  The number one tip for dressing for interviews is to go smart.  Wear the smartest clothes you have, if you don’t have a suit a nice clean shirt or top with smart trousers/skirt is fine.  Don’t wear your best ‘going out’ outfit – short, tight and figure revealing does not generally go down well at interviews.  Unless you are going for a job to work in a nightclub then please don’t go dressed to go on a night out.  Smart, clean and neutral smelling is perfect.  If you smoke then please don’t have a cigarette just before you go into the building, remember mints or gum and wash your hands.  It might be helpful to have a look at what other employees are wearing so try to check out people outside of the building before your interview to get an idea of dress code or look on the company website.  If you are interviewing for a job which involves hygiene – such as food handling then please make sure your nails are clean and your make up/perfume is subtle.

Where to go, don’t be late! – Make sure you know where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.  If possible do a trial run, make sure you know where to get off the bus or where to park.  Allow a bit of extra time for traffic on the day.  You’ll not make a good impression if you arrive late for your interview and you may not get seen at all.

Feeling nervous?  – You are likely to be nervous before and during the interview – this is perfectly normal so long as you don’t become too stressed.  Take a few deep breaths to calm down.  Some nerves are great as it shows you are keen, if you come across as too calm you may look disinterested and bored.

Make a great first impression – you only get one chance to make a first impression.  Make eye contact, introduce yourself, shake the interviewers hand if it’s offered and remember to smile J

Questions, questions – during the interview you are likely to get asked questions about the ‘competencies’ needed for the job – these would have been in the advert or job description and about the information you provided on your application or CV.  Make sure that you have copies of all these things and read them before your interview.

Any questions – at the end of the interview you will usually get the opportunity to ask your own questions so be ready with at least one good question.  Take it with you on a piece of paper if you’re likely to forget.  Think about questions relating to the job, future prospects, when you can expect to hear from them, try to avoid questions about pay or holidays.  If your question(s) have already been covered during the interview then just say that, otherwise you’ll come across as not paying attention.

Finally, Good Luck!  Just do your best and don’t be too disappointed if you’re not successful first time.