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!