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‘Apprenticeship gave me the chance to prove to myself that I can do better’ – Trainee workers in north-east celebrate

Stephen Raeburn is undertaking a modern apprenticeship at NEScol
Stephen Raeburn is undertaking a modern apprenticeship at NEScol

Scores of students are to be recognised today (March 10) as part of an awards scheme designed to highlight the importance and benefits of training on the job.

North East Scotland College (Nescol) is to celebrate the workforce of the future as they prepare to advance with their careers.

The college’s annual Modern Apprenticeship (MA) Awards coincides with Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

The virtual ceremony will recognise more than 130 apprentices and mark their achievements across a diverse range of sectors throughout the region and beyond.

All are pursuing a range of careers in business and management, childcare, construction, engineering, health and social care, hairdressing, freight logistics, motor vehicle and warehousing.

Progression and personal growth in apprenticeship

For Stephen Raeburn, who works at Asco, the rewards of completing his MA in logistics operations have been personal as well as professional.

His story highlights the appeal of work-based learning for people at various stages of their work.

The 34-year-old has spent 10 years working for the Aberdeen-headquartered company and is currently a returns department logistics controller responsible for the process of receipt and storage of goods returning from offshore locations.

It was through his role with the company that he was given the opportunity to enrol on the MA programme.

Mr Raeburn, from Brechin, said: “An apprenticeship gave me the chance to prove to myself that I can do better.

“The main benefit of the apprenticeship for me has been my own personal growth.

“I feel I’m in a better space – I know now that I can push myself forward rather than wait for opportunities to find me.

“This apprenticeship has re-ignited the thought of progressing.”

Stephen Raeburn

“The qualification I now have backs up the hard work and accomplishments I have earned over the years within Asco.

“It proves to myself that I can do better and more in the industry I have chosen to stay in.

“I also see it as a stepping stone to go further and earn more qualifications in the hope of raising myself to a higher level within the business.

“This apprenticeship has re-ignited the thought of progressing.”

Official statistics published by Skills Development Scotland last month reported 18,629 people started apprenticeships by the end of quarter three in 2021/22 – almost two times the number at the same time last year.

Apprenticeships “important” part of skilled workforce

Developing the Young Workforce north-east director Margo Milne said workplace training via apprenticeships were essential if the region is to succeed.

She said: “Apprenticeships play an important part in creating the skilled workforce that the north-east economy needs to prosper.

“From an employer’s viewpoint, offering apprenticeships is a great way to attract and retain talent.”

Margo Milne DYW north-east director

“For a young person, an apprenticeship can give them a strong start to their early career by offering them the chance to learn on the job while earning and gaining a recognised qualification.

“From an employer’s viewpoint, offering apprenticeships is a great way to attract and retain talent.

“Apprenticeship programmes help employers to develop a skilled and motivated workforce, which can support overall morale and productivity.

“Many organisations are already seeing the benefits of offering apprenticeships.

“With a growing number of programmes to choose from, we hope that many more will consider doing so.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently announced funding to support 150 pharmacy apprenticeships – costing £3.4 million.

Build rewarding careers

NESCol is one of the largest training providers for MAs in the region, with close to 400 apprentices currently on a training programme.

NESCol principal Neil Cowie said: “The benefits of a modern apprenticeship are extensive both for the individual and for the communities we serve.

Neil Cowie.</p> <p>

“The college is proud of its role in the evolution of traditional industries in the region and excited by the opportunities presented by new and emerging sectors.

“The introduction of a wind system MA to support the growth in renewables is just one example of the innovation that is ensuring apprentices continue to have fantastic opportunities to build rewarding careers.”

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