Council hails work of its young apprentices

Midlothian Council apprentices Lee Macleod, Scott Simpson, John Wright and Jack Grandison with director of resources John Blair,
Midlothian Council apprentices Lee Macleod, Scott Simpson, John Wright and Jack Grandison with director of resources John Blair,

Midlothian Council is celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week by showcasing some of its recruits.

Scott Simpson, Jack Grandison, John Wright and Lee Macleod, of the council’s land and countryside service, are looking forward to a positive future thanks to the modern apprenticeship scheme.

Scott and Jack are working towards their Scottish Vocational Qualification 2 in horticulture while John has finished and is now a full time member of staff. Lee is working towards his Higher National Certificate. All the young men work for the council and also attend Oatridge College in West Lothian.

The council’s director of resources, John Blair caught up with the apprentices recently at Vogrie Country Park.

He said: “I like to take the opportunity to thank all our apprentices for their commitment and hard work. I too started as a trainee when I first left school and I’m now one of three directors with Midlothian Council.

“It just goes to show that if you are prepared to work and learn then the council can offer a great career for young people.”

The young men are among thousands of apprentices across Scotland.

Supported by the national body, Skills Development Scotland, the Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme provides individuals with the opportunity to secure industry-recognised qualifications while earning a wage. It offers people aged 16 and over the opportunity of paid employment, combined with training at different levels. A Modern Apprentice can be a new team member or an existing employee seeking to increase their capability.

Modern Apprenticeships also provide a way for businesses to train employees to industry-recognised standards.

Scott initially joined the council on a work placement with his school. Jack, meanwhile, came to the Land and Countryside Service for training and work experience via Midlothian Training Services.

All the team members said they would recommend an apprenticeship as you get paid and get a qualification.

Figures released in December 2015, confirm the percentage of young people in Midlothian leaving school and going on to a positive destination such as further education or an apprenticeship is higher than the national average.

Mr Blair said: “In 2008/9 with 78.4% of school leavers going on to a positive destination, Midlothian was near the bottom of the local authority positive destinations league table and now, here we are at 93.5% which is 0.6% above the national average of 92.9%.”

“We’re pleased with this improvement which at least partly is thanks to modern apprenticeships. We aim to continue this improved trend.”