Ayrshire College welcomed this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week by announcing that it has trained 1,000 apprentices, employed in over 500 companies, since it was created less than two years ago.
A further 300 apprentices will start their training with the College in 2015-16.
The Scottish Government has a target of creating 25,000 new apprenticeship places each year, with an ambition for this to reach 30,000 a year by 2020. Ayrshire College is helping to make this goal a reality for the benefit of local people and businesses.
Willie Mackie, Chair of the College said: “Modern Apprentices add real value to businesses, young people and Ayrshire’s economy. The skills developed through work-based learning are valued by employers and by young people looking to get the best possible start in their careers. Ayrshire College is a major provider of apprenticeships and I am delighted that, just 20 months after the college was created, we had trained 1,000 apprentices.”
An engineering company with a proud track record in recruiting apprentices is Wallace McDowall in Monkton. Operations Director Logan Collins said: “At the moment we have 17 modern apprentices spread across all areas of our business. All but one of them were recruited through Ayrshire College, which provides excellent initial and ongoing training to offer the best support for the apprentices. We use work experience placements with students as part of our recruitment process and are committed to developing our future workforce with the help of the College.
“Our apprenticeship program is integral to the future growth of our business. We have former apprentices working successfully at all levels of our company including senior management.”
One of the apprentices taken on by Wallace McDowall last year was SVQ Level 2 Engineering student Carra Woods who said: “I went on work experience at Wallace McDowall and at the end of the week I was offered an apprenticeship! It’s going well and I come back to college one day a week. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship - it’s great to work, earn and learn at the same time.’
Trump Turnberry took on 10 apprentices this year. Executive Chef Munur Kara said: “Apprentices are very good for us. They work on site in a live kitchen where they gain experience of the pressure that they can be in when they start moving up the ranks. When we take on apprentices, we always plan their future and the next step working towards the commis chef, then the demi-chef de partie and the chef de partie, so they’ve got a good three to four years career-wise lined up ready at Trump Turnberry.”
Most of the apprenticeships supported by the College are in the engineering and construction sectors but automotive, hospitality and hairdressing apprenticeships are also offered. From this year, fashion and textiles, horticulture and creative modern apprenticeships will be available through the College for the first time.
The College will support a range of events during Scottish Apprenticeship week, including a drop-in session on the morning of 20 May at its Kilmarnock Campus, where Skills Development Scotland, councils and other organisations will be on hand to highlight the support available to companies to employ apprentices.
Stuart Cree, Education Contracts Manager at Ayrshire College, said: “Ayrshire College delivers apprenticeships in a wide range of industry sectors and I’m delighted that this year we’ll be offering creative, fashion and textiles and horticulture apprenticeships. We offer a very flexible range of delivery methods to tailor apprenticeships for each individual and employer.”