The dedication, skill and knowledge of the latest modern apprentices to gain their qualifications has been praised at a ceremony recognising the talents of the north-east workforce.
North East Scotland College (NESCol) hosted its annual modern apprenticeship awards today (March 10).
It celebrated NESCol apprentice of the year winners as part of the event.
More than 130 apprentices in business and management, childcare, construction, engineering, health and social care, hairdressing, freight logistics, motor vehicle and warehousing featured in the virtual showpiece and five individual award winners were crowned.
Apprenticeship was ‘logistical’ route
Among those successful was Katie Cruickshank.
Skills developed at school provided a springboard for Ms Cruickshank to embark on her career in construction.
The 20-year-old, from Fraserburgh, was named agency partner apprentice of the year.
The Scotia Homes carpentry and joinery modern apprentice said: “I like the fact that with an apprenticeship you are learning from those around you.
“The best thing for me is working with these experienced joiners and picking up hints and tips. In my field everyone has their own way of doing things.”
After discovering woodwork at school, she had no hesitation in pursuing a career in it.
Ms Cruickshank added: “That’s when it clicked that this was the path I wanted to follow.
“I really liked building things when I was younger – if I could try and build something, I would.
“I learn by doing things and watching others rather than being in a classroom, so an apprenticeship was a logical route for me.”
Variety of learning
For Darren Ritchie, winner of the engineering apprentice of the year award, the satisfaction of seeing his work in action has been one of the highlights of his training in electrical maintenance engineering.
The 22-year-old from Peterhead, who works with Denholm Seafoods, said: “Every day in my apprenticeship is different – from panel building to diagnosing faults and the installations of new circuits.
“It has taught me lots of analytical skills. I always take time to assess and try to be composed under pressure, and it’s given me the motivation and persistence to succeed.
“I never thought I would be able to build a panel from scratch and yet one of my panels is now in the factory for conveyor belts, taking fish from one end of the factory to the other.”
Opens up new career paths
Leah Innes was crowned business apprentice of the year and it has been a career path that has allowed creativity to flourish.
She was successful in applying for a sales and marketing apprenticeship with Motive Offshore Group in Boyndie, near home in Banff, after leaving school at the age of 17.
Ms Innes completed a digital marketing course in her first year and then started a business and administration apprenticeship with NESCol. Her role was split between sales and marketing.
The 20-year-old, recently promoted to the role of sales administrator, said: “I like the creativity of marketing and the structure of sales.
“I was involved in the new website the company was developing, so I was able to relate this to one of my apprenticeship units which I found really useful.”
Other winners include hairdresser Katie Davidson, named service apprentice of the year, and Cameron Pittendreigh, who won the Ian Corney memorial award for mechanical engineering.
Every apprentice ‘immensely proud’
NESCol principal Neil Cowie said: “Every modern apprentice who completed their qualification can be immensely proud of what they have achieved over a number of years and in incredibly challenging circumstances as the world has responded to the pandemic.
“Each has shown great determination, dedication and commitment to their chosen career and all that they have experienced will stand them in good stead for the future.
“The region’s response to the economic shock of the past two years will be built upon the foundations of a talented and knowledgeable workforce that is well-equipped for the future.”