Jenny Gilruth MSP's column in the Glenrothes Gazette and East Fife Mail - 10/03/2021 - 16/03/2021

Published date : 10 Mar 2021

To mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021, I was delighted to meet virtually with a group of apprentices at Diageo, including several at the Leven site last week.


Each of the apprentices I spoke to told me that a different life experience had led them to take up their modern apprenticeship opportunity, but they all agreed that securing an apprenticeship had been an important for their career and skills development.


Teri Skivington, for example, had joined Diageo in Leven as a temporary operator five years after leaving school before she secured a Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship with the company.


Reis Peggie played professional football for several teams, including Celtic, Falkirk, and Alloa, before joining Diageo and securing an Operator apprenticeship.


Leoni Bryan had worked as a waitress before joining Diageo and securing an Operator apprenticeship, and Euan Simpson had been to college to study sports coaching but is now pursuing a Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship.


Their experiences are a reminder that staying on at school or going straight into further or higher education isn’t the right pathway for everyone. That’s why apprenticeships are so important because they provide an opportunity for employment and for training on the job. 


In previous years, I have been able to visit businesses and meet apprentices in person. Last year I met some excellent childcare apprentices at Peek-a-Boo nursery in Markinch and a visit to DPS Group in Glenrothes in 2019 showed how important apprentices are to the engineering and construction sectors.


The Covid-19 pandemic put paid to my ability to meet apprentices in person this year. That issue was easily overcome by setting up a virtual meeting to enable me to have those valuable conversations. But the impact Covid has had on the jobs and opportunities available for young people and the incredible challenges employers have faced due to the pandemic requires a more complicated solution. That’s why the SNP Scottish Government has introduced the Apprenticeship Employer Grant.


I hope as many local employers as possible will consider making use of the fund, which will help to create jobs and teach our young people new skills. Businesses will receive £5,000 for taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year old apprentice and £3,500 for taking on or upskilling an apprentice over 25.


Alongside the Young Person’s Guarantee, the SNP Scottish Government is taking steps to ensure we build a resilient recovery in Fife and across Scotland. To do that we need a resilient workforce and our young people will be at the very heart of that.

Local Reporters, East Fife Mail, Glenrothes Gazette, COMMUNITY, LOCAL BUSINESS
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