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Young recruits endorse Modern Apprenticeship scheme

Published: 16/11/2023

With Scottish Careers Week under way this week, three young people in the Highlands and Islands are urging others to consider a Modern Apprenticeship to kick start their careers.

With Scottish Careers Week under way this week, three young people in the Highlands and Islands are urging others to consider a Modern Apprenticeship to kick start their careers.

The programme enables people to work, earn and learn as a paid employee over a period of 18 months. While gaining valuable work experience the recruits are supported to achieve an industry recognised qualification.

For employers, modern apprenticeships help develop their workforce by training new staff and upskilling existing employees.

Kata Garzo (21), Francesca Scott (31) and Grace Henderson (18) recently completed their own MA SVQ qualifications with HIE and have since secured permanent positions.

Kata started as procurement assistant with HIE in September 2022, working out of the organisation’s Inverness office. Reflecting on the experience, she said:

“I think apprenticeships are hugely underestimated. They enable you to learn as you work and acquire the right skills for a specific job. This gives you a big advantage and creates opportunities to gain more experience and be well placed to move up the ladder. I feel like I’ve learnt more in six months as an MA than I did in a year at college. And there’s always plenty support. I’m so pleased I went down this path and would highly recommend it for everybody!”

Francesca and Grace are financial administrators in HIE’s Benbecula office. Grace, who started her MA in July 2022, said:

“I would definitely recommend to people that they think about a Modern Apprenticeship if they’re looking to start or even change career. I didn’t know a lot about it at first but approached it with an open mind and found it to be a great alternative to the university or college route, which would have meant leaving home. The learning has been very hands on and practical, with lots of support.”

Stepanka Nicol, recruitment and resourcing manager with HIE’s HR team, said:

“As an organisation we are committed to developing the young workforce as part of our workforce plan and have recently appointed a cohort of graduates and modern apprentices.  Our MA and graduate programme is a great way to attract fresh talent and to enable more young people to remain in the region. Now that Grace, Francesca and Kata have all successfully completed their SVQ training we are delighted we have been able to make their posts permanent with us.  

More information on the Modern Apprenticeship programme is available on the Skills Development Scotland website.