Highlighting benefits of work based learning in Western Isles

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Employers in the Outer Hebrides have visited schools, including The Nicolson Institute and Sgoil Lionacleit recently to tell pupils about the benefits of work-based learning.

Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) network of careers coaches and employer engagement staff worked with local businesses including Cothrom, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Lews Castle College to set up school visits to tell pupils about Modern Apprenticeships (MAs).

SDS organised the visits as part of a week of activity across Scotland to highlight the benefits of MAs.

During the visits, pupils had the chance to watch short films showcasing MAs, listen to presentations and to ask employers, apprentices and training providers about their experiences.

The visits also helped employers build on their links with schools in their area and tell pupils about available opportunities in the local communities.

Iain Maclennan, SDS Team Leader for the Outer Hebrides, said: “Having employers and Modern Apprentices share their experiences gave pupils valuable insight into what work-based learning is really like.

“The visits opened the pupils’ eyes to the world of apprenticeships and showed them that there’s something available for everyone, across a range of different industries and in businesses of all sizes.”

During the week, over 250 schools across Scotland welcomed employers into their classrooms to share with pupils the benefits of on-the-job formal learning.

The visits also coincided with the publication of MA statistics that revealed 52 people in the Outer Hebrides started an apprenticeship during the first half of the financial year (1 April to 26 September 2014).

Iain, added: “Schools in the Outer Hebrides and across Scotland embraced the opportunity to get involved and SDS would like to thank all the schools involved, the Modern Apprentices and the businesses and training providers – BASF, Stag Bakeries and Qinetiq – who worked with us to help make these events a success.

“These events have given us the chance to build on the wider work we’re doing with local partners to tackle unemployment and create jobs for the people of the Outer Hebrides.

“It also highlighted the value of Modern Apprenticeships and the role they play in supporting youth employment and we look forward to replicating the events in both Sir E Scott School and Castlebay Community School.”