Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2020

March 6, 2020 - Stuart Millar

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2020 has been awesome! This year’s theme has been Talent Without Limits and the week’s events have helped reinforce what that means. Scotland’s apprenticeship family offers an amazing opportunity for people in our communities to start a long and rewarding career in their chosen profession. With the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the programmes develop, there are endless possibilities for success.


At Ayrshire College, we are proud of our support for Scotland’s apprenticeship family and the landmark of training 1000 apprentices this year is testament to that. The college sector across Scotland is a huge contributor to apprenticeships, with many thousands more apprentices being trained in colleges across the country. We are also a rich talent pool for employers recruitment needs, and more and more apprentices each year are being recruited directly from college courses.

 GE Caledonian, Scottish Apprenticeship Week


The week kicked off on Monday with a trip to GE Caledonian in Prestwick, where local MSP Brian Whittle was visiting. GE Caledonian are a great example of the forward thinking employers we have in Ayrshire, recruiting many apprentices every year from schools, college courses and our Foundation Apprenticeship programme in order develop the next generation of their workforce. They also believe strongly in the benefits of a diverse workforce, and significantly exceed the national average of females in their MA programme. Listening to their apprentices speak so well about how much they were learning from their mentors and the benefits of work-based learning suggests that the company’s future is in very safe hands.


Tuesday was our Foundation Apprenticeship day, with our social media focus being ably led by our own FAs, Kirsty and Hannah who are developing great skills in our Marketing department. We are seeing more young people benefit from this programme every year through a combination of classroom and work-based learning and increasing numbers of employers are providing them with structured work placements. In 2020-21, we expect to see 200 new Foundation Apprentices start their studies across Ayrshire, on their way to a long, fulfilling career.


RUA Meeting with Ruth Macguire


Later in the week, Morag, our Scientific Technologies VQ Assessor, met Ruth Maguire MSP at RUA Medical, one of our local employers who support the FA programme. The company were rightly proud to showcase their successful Young Workforce Development Programme and how the Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeship programmes contributes to it.


On Wednesday, we concentrated on our expanding modern Apprenticeship offer in construction and our Principal, Carol Turnbull was an apprentice for a day at one of Taylor Wimpey’s construction sites in Troon. Carol thoroughly enjoyed the experience and relished learning how the company’s apprentices are developing their skills. We recently entered a partnership with Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, opening their Apprenticeship Academy in our Ayr Campus. This has recently been bolstered by the introduction of two new courses in carpentry and joinery and bricklaying that will hopefully provide a rich recruitment pool for the next generation of the apprentices for Taylor Wimpey. We hope that more and more companies realise the benefit that partnering with Ayrshire College can bring their business!


Thursday was all about the thriving source of recruitment that Ayrshire College is for our local employers.

During the day, we held our engineering and science MA recruitment fair. Many of our partner employers including  GE Caledonian, EGGER, Chemring Energetics, Mahle, Spirit Aerosystems, Ryanair, Chevron, and Collins Aerospace attended with their current apprentices to promote their business to their next cohort of recruits, our students. There was a fantastic vibe around the event and many great job opportunities were shared.


Thursday’s highlight, and probably the highlight of the week, was the John Mather awards in our Kilmarnock Campus. These awards celebrate the students who have moved on from Ayrshire College to employment in the field of their studies, with the majority having gained a Modern Apprenticeship. It was truly inspiring to witness the volume of our students who have achieved this. Well done to all! We launched our Apprenticeship Hall of Fame on the evening to celebrate the fantastic achievements of ex-apprentices. Aidan, Graeme, Blair and Leoni were the first inductees into the hall of fame and you can read more about their achievements here.


Kelly Kerr, an apprentice Painter and Decorator with Ashleigh Construction was also crowned the Ayr Guildry Apprentice of the Year at the event. A fantastic achievement and very well deserved. Many congratulations Kelly!!




Friday saw Willie Coffey MSP visit his (beloved) Kilmarnock Football Club to speak to two of their Modern Apprentice footballers Ally and Tomas. Both have developed well throughout the programme and are on the fringes of the first team. Ally Taylor has recently achieved the status of our first MA to achieve a first team appearance, coming off the bench in the recent game against Celtic, where he played against his brother Greg. It was great to hear about how the skills they were developing through the structured programme are helping them improve their footballing skills as well as preparing them for life after football. We have 17 apprentices in training with Kilmarnock and Ayr United Football Clubs and we are confident the programme will continue to develop first class footballers.


All in all, it has been a hectic but thoroughly inspiring and fulfilling week. Many thanks to Skills Development Scotland for arranging the week-long celebration of all of Scotland’s apprentices and to our local employer partners who have the vision and confidence to invest in apprenticeships to develop their future workforce.

And finally, to all those that have secured an apprenticeship, well done! You have shown the talent and attitude to be offered a fantastic opportunity. There are no limits to what you can now achieve!


#TalentWithoutLimits #ScotAppWeek20

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