'Go for it' - great opportunities for young people through council's Modern Apprenticeship commitment

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Published Date: 

9 Mar 2015 - 11:30

IT’S job fair season around Argyll and Bute, as pupils prepare to sit their exams and think about what lies beyond their school days. And among the opportunities on offer for them are Modern Apprenticeships with Argyll and Bute Council.

Eight local young people have secured employment as Argyll and Bute Council Modern Apprentices in the last twelve months – and more jobs will be on offer soon as additional posts are due to be advertised in the coming weeks.

Last year the council committed to providing at least 25 Modern Apprenticeships  in Argyll and Bute’s major towns and covering a broad range of skills and services – an exciting initiative from a major local employer.

Modern Apprenticeships are open to those aged between 16 and 19 and give young people the chance to earn while they learn. They provide the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience and work towards nationally recognised qualifications while earning a basic wage.

The Modern Apprentices who have already joined Argyll and Bute Council are encouraging other young people across the area to ‘go for it!’ – saying that their experience so far has proved to be invaluable.

Sixteen-year-old Connor Chlopuk from Lochgilphead started work in the council’s HR team in December last year. 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, Liam Atkinson (17) is 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.  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.”

Connor, Liam and Kjeld have joined a squad of Argyll and Bute Council Modern Apprentices who are learning and earning across the spectrum of council services – from business administration to mechanics. Coming soon are more Modern Apprenticeship opportunities in IT, customer services and other council departments. The posts will be advertised soon at Argyll and Bute Council’s page on the myjobscotland website – www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/councils/argyll-bute-council

Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, is delighted that even more young people have been able to gain employment with the council. He said: “It is really heartening to hear these very positive reports from our Modern Apprentices. Their enthusiasm is clear and I am sure that as well as gaining valuable skills and work experience, they will also prove to be a real credit to the council.

“Our Modern Apprenticeship opportunities play a part in delivering the Single Outcome Agreement. Two of our long-term priorities are to ensure that young people have the best possible start, and that education, skills and training maximises opportunities for all. It is fantastic that we are able to make this a reality for young people in towns all across Argyll and Bute. We look forward to welcoming more Modern Apprentices to Argyll and Bute Council when the next round of posts are advertised.”

Argyll and Bute Council staff will be out and about at jobs/careers fairs around the area over the next few weeks and will be able to tell you about opportunities at the council, including Modern Apprenticeships. In the meantime, if you would like more information, please visit www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/modern-apprenticeships or email growingourown@argyll-bute.gov.uk