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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.

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