Modern Apprenticeships


Modern Apprenticeships at Argyll and Bute Council

Growing Our Own

Earn while you learn! Kick start your career by becoming a Modern Apprentice at Argyll and Bute Council as part of our Growing our Own scheme.

If you are aged between 16 and 19, a Modern Apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to work towards a nationally recognised qualification (SVQ), gain invaluable work experience and undertake industry recognised training - while earning a basic wage.

This will give you the opportunity to kick start your career, enabling you to develop the skills and knowledge required within the workplace and to “earn while you learn”.

Argyll and Bute Council is committed to providing opportunities for young people and a range of modern apprenticeship opportunities are being developed within the organisation.  Our plan is to provide a minimum of 25 modern apprenticeships over the next year, spread across Argyll and Bute’s major towns, and could include opportunities in Automotive Mechanics, Business and Administration, Customer Service, Food and Drink, Health and Social Care, ICT, Sport and Leisure, Transportation, Youth Work and much more.

See our new opportunities here.


What are Modern Apprenticeships?

Modern Apprenticeships are work-based training schemes which allow people to develop both their vocational and personal skills in a work environment, working towards an accredited qualification.  It also ensures that apprentices reach a common standard of skills and knowledge that is recognisable to the industry as being a sound basis upon which to build a career and improve their chances of getting a job in the future.

Apprentices will work towards a nationally recognised qualification alongside gaining valuable work experience, allowing them to build their confidence and personal development skills.   Depending on the job they are training to do, some apprentices will go to college on day or block release and others will undertake work-based training.


Two of our current Modern Apprentices have been shortleeted for The Scottish Training Federation Achiever of the Year Award – Chris Cupples and Steven Simpson.  Only 3 people are shortleeted for this award so it is a fantastic achievement for Chris and Steven and is deserved recognition of the contributions they have made.

Modern Apprentices Share Their Experiences

For two Mid Argyll girls, 18-year-old Samantha Newlands and Jenny Blair, aged 19, the Modern Apprenticeships scheme has already proven to be a valuable experience. Samantha, from Ardrishaig, and Jenny, who is from Crinan, joined the council’s Customer Services team in May 2014 as Modern Apprentices. Ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, 18th to 22nd May 2015, the girls were proud to receive their Modern Apprentice certificates and SVQ qualifications.

Samantha heard about the council’s Modern Apprenticeship opportunities at school and, seeking a career in administration, decided it would be the ideal way to get started in the workplace.

“I did Higher Admin at school and really enjoyed it. I’ve always thought the council is a really good place to work. When I heard about this, it sounded great, with opportunities to learn more and work your way up. My family lives in Argyll and I really want to be able to stay here and have a good career. This is a chance for me to do that,” she explained.

Jenny added: “I’ve always been interested in working with the council and I got the chance to do work experience there while I was at school. That was a good stepping stone to the Modern Apprenticeship scheme. I’ve found the training really interesting and everyone has been very helpful. I’ve been able to build on what I learned at school – we are learning how to use different systems and software, as well as shadowing other people and seeing how the process works. It’s really good.”

Now armed with their Modern Apprenticeship certificates and new SVQ qualifications, both Samantha and Jenny are fully prepared to enter the world of work. Samantha has just been offered a clerical post within the council's Customer Services department and is clear about how much her Modern Apprenticeship experience has contributed to her success.

"When I started, I had literally just left school - the day before! This gave me a great chance to learn and get experience before going out and getting a job. I'm really happy that I've got a job with the council - it means I can continue doing something I've really enjoyed. It's never been boring and has really helped to develop my knowledge and skills. I can't wait to get started full time."

Chris Cupples

Twenty-year-old Chris Cupples is an apprentice mechanic with Argyll and Bute Council’s Fleet Support team in Lochgilphead.

Chris, from Tarbert, joined the council in January 2013 after starting his apprenticeship with a private garage company.  He says that one of the best things about his job is the chance to work on a wide range of vehicles and challenges.

“Every day is different,” he explained. “One day, you could be fixing a bin lorry or a gritter – and then you’re doing everyday repairs on a small car. It means you can learn about a lot of different aspects of mechanics, which you might not be able to do somewhere else.”

As part of his apprenticeship, Chris spends a week every two months at college in Glasgow. “It’s a good chance to learn more about what you’re doing at work. I’m able to learn on the job but also in a college environment, which is really good.”

Finding a job with prospects for the future, that’s also close to home, has been a bonus for Chris: “Being able to learn a trade, but also earn a wage at the same time, is great, and I started earning as soon my apprenticeship with the council started. It’s close to where I live which is handy, but I also get the chance to work all over Argyll and Bute, including the islands, and that’s not an opportunity that comes with every job.

“I would encourage anyone else who is interested in an apprenticeship with the council to find out more. It’s a good place to work.”

Sixteen-year-old Connor Chlopuk from Lochgilphead started work in the council’s HR team in December 2014. He’s currently working towards an SVQ in Business Administration and says the opportunity is ‘definitely a positive thing’.

“I wanted to find work in Argyll after leaving school and was job-hunting when I saw the Modern Apprenticeship advert,” said Connor. “It seemed like a good way to further my education and get into the working world.

“I did have the chance of another job but decided to go for the Modern Apprenticeship as it offered more opportunities and was local – this was really important to me.”

In the busy HR team, Connor is learning about working with and supporting employees across  all council services, using new software and systems and other administration skills. “I’m surprised how much I am enjoying it – it is definitely better than school! I’d encourage anyone thinking about a Modern Apprenticeship to go for it – it really is a great opportunity.”

Over in Helensburgh, we spoke to Liam Atkinson (17) when he was just three weeks into his Modern Apprenticeship in the council’s Children and Families service.  He found information about the opportunity on Facebook and, like Connor, sees it as a great way to expand what he learned at school and take those skills into the world of work.  He is also studying for the SVQ in Business Administration.

“I was keen to stay in Helensburgh and this was ideal for me,” he said. “I studied Business Administration at school and was applying for lots of jobs before I saw this one. I think I’m really lucky to get this opportunity at the council – it’s a good job and if you work hard there are prospects.  I’m learning lots of different skills – there is even more to it than you think.”

In Dunoon, Kjeld Mcintyre joined the Criminal Justice team as a Modern Apprentice in early February 2015.  Finding employment in his home town was important to him too but, as a keen footballer who trains regularly in Glasgow, he initially thought that his best option was to look for a job in the city. However, he was convinced to stay local by the opportunities offered by the Modern Apprenticeship – which also allowed him to commute easily to the central belt for football.  It offers Kjeld the best of both worlds and helps him maintain a healthy work-life balance.

When asked about his experience so far, he said: “It’s really good – in fact it’s brilliant.

“I first heard about the Modern Apprenticeship on a jobs website. Because I had studied business administration at school, I thought it would be a chance to build on that. I’m also getting to learn new skills, things I probably wouldn’t have thought about before.”

Kjeld, who is 18, added: “The people I work with are really friendly and helpful and there’s always support if you need it. I feel really lucky to have got the chance to do this and I’d definitely encourage anyone else who’s thinking about it to go for it too.”

You’re hired! Modern Apprenticeships from the service point of view

It’s clear that Modern Apprenticeships offer young people a great opportunity to earn and learn at the same time. But taking on a Modern Apprentice also brings real benefits to council teams– especially when it comes to planning ahead for the future and making sure the organisation has a sound bank of skilled people who’ll be able to deliver services in the future.

Sandra Black, Fleet Performance Manager is currently responsible for five apprentice mechanics. This is the fourth year that the team has been working with apprentices and Sandra is enthusiastic about the process.

“It’s excellent for them and for the council,” she said. “We have been involved with our apprentices all the way from application stage through interview to starting work in the depots. It’s been a very good experience for the team, who are proud to be able to act as mentors and pass on their skills. Working with the apprentices is also fun – they are really keen and that’s like a breath of fresh air for the rest of the team.

“There is a misconception that all apprentices do is brush the floor – that’s simply not the case. Our apprentices fit in really well – they don’t just work for the team, they are part of it. We’ve structured the service so that all the apprentices get the chance to travel around all our depots to work and learn. This gives them the chance to see different parts of Argyll and Bute, meet and work with other colleagues, work on different things – and all that adds to their training and work experience.

“I would encourage other teams to look at what a Modern Apprenticeship could bring to their service. For us it has been a really positive thing to do.”

Contact Details

For more information on the Modern Apprenticeship or Growing Our Own Scheme contact:

Jennifer Coyle  - Talent Manager
Argyll and Bute Council
Argyll  PA31 8RT

Tel: 01546 604010

Email: or

Further Information

Argyll and Bute Council is not responsible for the content of external websites