South Ayrshire Council is showcasing the achievements of their Modern Apprentices and supporting the first Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
From 5 to 9 September 2011 a national campaign aims to make potential Modern Apprentices, employers and the public aware of the benefits of apprenticeships.
Modern Apprenticeships offer people over 16 years of age the chance of paid employment combined with the opportunity to train for jobs at different levels. They are a way of gaining skills and nationally recognised qualifications that help kickstart a career without having to study full time. Modern Apprenticeships are available across a wide range of industries.
The Council currently has 88 Modern Apprentices in the areas of business and administration, health and social care, greenkeeping and grounds maintenance and construction.
Here are what some of our Modern Apprentices had to say when asked about the training programme:
Mark Barr, business and administration Modern Apprentice September 2010 said: "I came to work in South Ayrshire Council because it is a very large and well known organisation. The skills I have learned such as working at the reception of a frontline service in both Troon Housing and Ayr Registration and also dealing with all aspects of both departments as well as learning all the different administration duties that would be carried out during the working day. The experiences I have gained which South Ayrshire have offered to me in my apprenticeship have been a very good learning curve for me. I wanted to become a modern apprentice because I wanted to gain some work based skills and have a more hands on approach to learning. I really enjoy working for South Ayrshire Council. My next steps are to progress on to do my SVQ level 3 in business and administration and hopefully secure a permanent position within South Ayrshire Council."
Melissa Dempster, health and social care Modern Apprentice 2011 said: "I came to the Council because of good terms and conditions and hoped to get experience in the care sector, so I can perhaps gain employment, but if not then I will have experience and a qualification to apply for jobs."
Kristofor Breingan, construction Modern Apprentice of the Year 2010 said: "I have really enjoyed the first year of my 4 years apprenticeship as a plasterer. I have enjoyed the challenge of learning new skills and managed to gain apprentice of the year. I have now entered the national plastering competition and hope the skills and knowledge I have learnt while at college and with South Ayrshire Council will help me to do well within the competition. The skills and achievements I have gained within my first year inspired me to continue with my chosen career and I hope at the end of my apprenticeship I will successfully gain a permanent post."
Many Modern Apprentices have gone on to attain full time employment with South Ayrshire Council and others have moved into the private sector. An example of this is in the area of Greenkeeping and Grounds Maintenance Modern Apprentices, with some former apprentices moving into positions at courses that host the Open Championship, such as Royal Troon and Turnberry.
Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance said: "Modern Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to develop the required level of skills, knowledge, experience and competence they need to progress in the type of work that appeals to them.
"Competition to become a Modern Apprentice is fierce, many people now see this as a way to start their career. During the Modern Apprenticeship programme the young people are continually assessed and have to reach expected levels of performance on the job through vocational studies.
"People who have been through our Modern Apprenticeship programme benefit from practical experience of work, new skills and the understanding that by working hard and applying yourself that doors will open for you."
Two of the previous Modern Apprentices who secured permanent posts with South Ayrshire Council commented on their experience.
Chelsea Henderson said: "I really enjoyed working to achieve my SVQ Level 2 in Business Administration as this also gave me the opportunity to complete my SVQ Level 3. I have now secured a permanent position in the Social Work Department of South Ayrshire Council and hope that I can progress in the future.'
Lynsey Frew said: "I really enjoyed working towards my level 2 SVQ; it helped me secure a post within the Social Work Department. I then moved on to complete my level 3 and hope to gain a higher post in the future.