Scottish Enterprise Week benefits local business owners and young people

Support is flooding in for Scottish Apprenticeship Week which is running from 29 February to 4 March across the country.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week celebrates the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy.

The campaign sees events and activity across Scotland from Shetland to the Borders.

The week is coordinated by national skills body, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and is backed by employers from family firms to global businesses.

Chairman of SDS, John F McClelland CBE, said: “More and more employers see the benefits that apprentices bring to their businesses.

“Apprenticeships mean businesses can find the talent they need for the growth they want.

“Our website now makes it even easier for businesses to tap into the next generation of enthusiastic workers and for young people to find apprenticeship opportunities.”

South Ayrshire worker Graham McClung believes his skills have been honed by hiscolleagues who are willing to share their incredible knowledge with him and his fellow apprentices.

The former Carrick Academy pupil works for GE Caledonian Ltd in Prestwick and completed his aeronautical mechanical engineering apprenticeship last August.

“I did a pre-apprenticeship course at Ayrshire College and then began my apprenticeship in 2012. It was really a dream come true for me,” explained Graham, who is from Maybole.

He added: “I have always enjoying working with my hands and am usually working on three or four cars at a time.

“To work in engineering was always what I wanted to do.

“The job was everything I had been expecting and the thing I enjoy the most is that no two days are the same.”

The apprenticeship way of training worked well for Graham.

He said: “Gaining experience while you are learning your skills and getting paid for it is really good and it means you are learning your trade from day one.”

The 24-year-old paid tribute to his time-served colleagues who were happy to share their expertise, give one to one training and who were always interested and keen to help younger employees.

Graham is now focusing on continuing to build his skill set and developing within GE Caledonian.

His mentor Gail McKendrick said Graham’s passion for engineering was evident from the start of his apprenticeship.

“He has used this to become a valuable member of the team here at Caledonian and has also achieved his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award while working towards his apprenticeship,” she explained.

Gail said: “Modern Apprentices like Graham bring an enthusiasm for the industry that often sparks our more experienced workforce’s passion.

They bring a new outlook that the company can use to inspire future generations through our STEM programme. “