As one of the biggest employers in the country NHS Grampian is once again helping north-east school pupils gain “frontline” experience as part of an innovative teaching programme.
The health board is committed to attracting young people into the sector by supporting Foundation Apprenticeships – successfully training 10 pupils since the scheme began two years ago.
Buckie High School pupil, Emily Murray, has been on the course since last year and has been working at Seafield hospital to gain work experience and jump-start her career prospects.
Last night the 17-year-old S6 pupil said she had not known what she wanted to do before she took on the course, and added: “Within an hour of being in the hospital I knew this was what I wanted to do.
“The hands-on experience has just been amazing – I have gained so much from it.”
Pupils can choose a Foundation Apprenticeship alongside their other S5 or S6 school subjects.
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Choosing to combine their time at school with weekly time working with an employer such as the NHS and a college or training company – the incentive is a qualification at the same level as a Higher on completion.
There are 12 subjects on offer, including social services and healthcare, civil engineering, and scientific technologies.
Director of Developing the Young Workforce North East Scotland, Mary Holland, said the programme was an “excellent opportunity” for young people to experience the world of work in a focused way – while still attending school.
She said: “Getting practical experience with a business can help pupils make more informed choices about whether a career or sector is for them, while the qualification they gain is fully accredited and recognised by future employers at the same level as a higher.”
NHS Grampian employability and apprenticeships programme lead, Douglas Andrew, agreed and said it could open up a “variety” of career options.
He said: “It’s a unique opportunity for S5 and S6 pupils to get frontline experience, which could be in a hospital or a care home, whilst developing interpersonal and communication skills.
“Not only does it set them up for the world of work, they achieve a recognised qualification at the end.
“It’s been fantastic to see first-hand how Foundation Apprenticeships can help young people kick start their career. Since the programme began two years ago, 10 students have successfully completed their Foundation Apprenticeship with NHS Grampian.
“We’ve seen them progress into Modern Apprenticeships as well as into university to complete their formal nurse training.
“Thanks to close working with Aberdeen North East College, Moray College and local schools, the Foundation Apprenticeship programme has grown from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming more S5 and S6 pupils in the future.”
For more information visit www.apprenticeships.scot/foundation