A Berwickshire apprentice and a Hawick-based Modern Apprentice employer have been named as the best in Scotland.
ScotlandShop employee Auryn Chorley won the Level 2 Apprentice of the Year category at Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards).
Auryn received the honour at the event in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms from Maggie Morrison of principal Awards partner CGI Scotland. He said: “I was nervous waiting for the Award to be announced but when it was, it was awesome. I was speechless but it is fantastic.”
He added: “I think Modern Apprenticeships really work and offer people a different way of starting their career. I know how well it has worked for me.”
The 17-year-old started working for the ScotlandShop company in September 2014 and has become a valued employee who is seen as a team player by his colleagues at the online retailer.
Swinton-based Auryn wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he left school but felt he didn’t want to move on to Further or Higher Education.
The Awards judges heard how Auryn deals well with customers, has fitted in perfectly with the business’ small team and helped with a major stockroom reorganisation.
“He even designed a wool pocket square product which is being taken forward to market.
He said: “I started in the shop and found quickly that I really enjoy all the different aspects of what we do. I like how the apprenticeship was about putting the theory into practice and completed my
Retail Level 2 qualification in June,” he explained.
Auryn is now working towards his Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Business and Administration.
This will see him develop new skills and take more ownership of customer orders, communications and administration duties. He feels he has a solid career path ahead of him.
Meanwhile, Waverley Housing was chosen as Scotland’s SME Employer of the Year for workplaces with less than 250 employees.
Waverley Housing’s Property Services Manager Lindsey Jefferson received their honour from Hugh McCafferty of category partners CITB.
She said: “By creating Modern Apprenticeship opportunities we not only support young people but the community in the Borders too. It’s a rural area so it’s particularly important to create those opportunities.
Lindsey added: “Modern Apprentices bring an enthusiasm and passion to work; they care about our tenants our organisation and our communities.”
Waverley Housing provides 1500 homes across the Scottish Borders and employs 50 staff and eight Modern Apprentices.
“A large number of our tenants are young and vulnerable and we feel they have connected with our apprentices who are in the same age group.
“The apprentices are ambassadors for our organisation in a small, rural area,” she explained.
Previously, Waverley Housing has had mainly trade apprentices, but now has IT and Business and Administration apprentices.
“Our IT apprentice suggested better ways of working for our tradesman by using Smartphone technology and reducing paperwork. He designed, trained and rolled out the project which has seen productivity increase by 20%,” said Lindsey.
Another apprentice suggested a project where young people could get household items to help set up their first home. Her idea has been a big success.
All of Waverley Housing apprentices have taken part in World Host training, which was used during the Olympic Games.
The apprentices are mentored by an experienced member of staff, some have gone on to set up their own businesses and the organisation has committed to providing future work for them.