Scottish Apprenticeship Week

Apprenticeships are a success story for young workers

Owen Forrest

Owen Forrest: first Modern Apprentice taken on by Wave


Scottish Apprenticeship Week, running from today until Friday, provides the perfect opportunity to draw attention to and recognise the important role Modern Apprentices play in the businesses and other organisations in which they work. 

Organised by the national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Scottish Apprenticeship Week celebrates the many benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy. It also highlights the commitment of businesses, like our own, who are investing in the skills of their workforce, delivering the skilled workers needed for the future.

With that in mind this year’s theme is ‘Skills for the Future’, recognising the importance of investing in our workforce, and it will be marked by activities and events across the country.

Modern Apprenticeships give people across Scotland the opportunity to combine learning with real business experience, all while earning a living.   

It’s a real success story and the facts speak for themselves. Research indicates that 91% of apprentices are still in employment six months after completing their Modern Apprenticeship; and 96% of employers say former apprentices are better equipped to do their job. 

Not only does the individual benefit through providing the experience and the skills that employers want to see, but so does the business or organisation employing them. The latter also sees support from SDS with training costs, depending on the age of the apprentice and the type and level of training. It is a genuine win-win situation for both parties.

Recruiting a Modern Apprentice enables employers to fill the skills gaps that exist within their current workforce as apprentices begin to learn sector specific skills from day one, developing specialist knowledge that will positively affect the bottom line.

In addition to eager, motivated staff who are committed to on-the-job training and development, there is also a significant increase in employee retention as staff typically feel loyal to employers who have invested in their training. They are therefore more engaged and motivated to stay. 

At national water retailer, Wave, a joint venture between Anglian Water Business and NWG Business, our apprentices play a major part in our success. We aim to provide an environment where their commitment and our high standards offer unique career opportunities. We would take this opportunity to encourage more businesses to take on a Modern Apprentice.

We initially employed two Modern Apprentices at our Edinburgh office and both have gone from strength to strength. Owen, the first Modern Apprentice we took on and a former youth professional footballer, is in his last year and is training as a mechanical engineer. He splits his time between office-based and on-site activity as well as completing his studies at Fife College.

Jamie, who had left school unsure of what to do next, joined us to train and worked in our customer support team.  He successfully completed his apprenticeship six months earlier than expected and is now permanently employed by us, proving an excellent addition to our team.

There really is no better time to recognise the valuable job all of Scotland’s Modern Apprentices do and the vital role they play in so many businesses.  Show your support for Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019 by pledging to recruit a Modern Apprentice during the next year.

Tony March is head of public sector, Wave 

This article appears under the terms of the DB Direct service

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