Minister praises Group’s dedication to apprentices

21/05/15... EAGLESHAM - GLASGOW Mactaggart & Mickel Group welcomed Annabelle Ewing, Minister of Youth and Women’s Employment, Scottish Government visit site and introduced to apprentices. Shaun Kennedy,   Brian Campbell and Josh Coyne

Mactaggart & Mickel Group welcomed Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, to one of its leading developments as the company marked Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

 Ms Ewing visited the Polnoon development in Eaglesham, which follows the guidance of the Scottish Government’s Designing Streets agenda. Created to meet the needs of pedestrians rather than vehicles, it encapsulates a new design approach to build a better quality living environment.

During the visit Ms Ewing was introduced to a number of apprentices and tradespeople who shared their experiences of working with the company. She also met Mactaggart & Mickel Group’s HR Director, Marion Forbes, who provided insight into the firm’s ethos and practices when recruiting apprentices.

Having originally recruited many of its current managers as apprentices, and employing between two and four apprentices each year since 2009, Mactaggart & Mickel Group has an ongoing commitment to support apprenticeships in the construction sector – evidenced by its apprentice retention throughout a challenging economic climate.

Ed Monaghan, chief executive of Mactaggart & Mickel Group, who began his career with the company as an apprentice painter, said, “We’re committed to nurturing future generations and recognise that in the current environment, with skill shortages looming, investment is critical. Skills development has to be at the heart of recovery for businesses to grow and economies to flourish. At Mactaggart & Mickel Group, we make it our mission to ensure skills are passed down to the younger members of our workforce through mentoring programmes. Apprenticeships are a great way to nurture the next generation, securing a skilled workforce for the construction sector for years to come.”

Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing, commented, “Scottish Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of the success of Scotland’s Modern Apprentices and for everyone associated with the programme which has become a key element of our approach to economic development and youth employment.

“This Government is determined to support young people towards jobs and apprenticeships, as underlined by our aim to have 30,000 new opportunities a year by 2020. I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Mactaggart and Mickel Group and their modern apprentices at the Polnoon site.”

One of the apprentices who met Ms Ewing was Shaun Kennedy, who has been named Apprentice Joiner of the Year by North Glasgow College three years running and recently received the James Birnie Craft Excellence Award. Shaun said, “Working for Mactaggart & Mickel Group is like being a part of a family; they value every member of the team and are dedicated to developing staff. Since joining as an apprentice, I’ve learnt so much and that’s due to Mactaggart & Mickel Group and the superb training systems they have in place. Apprenticeships are a great way to work, learn and earn a wage – you really can do it all and I would recommend it to anyone.”

 Damien Yeates, chief executive of Skills Development Scotland, organisers of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, said, “Modern Apprenticeships work for employers of all sizes, from family firms to global companies. Scottish Apprenticeship Week celebrates Modern Apprentice employers and the achievements of apprentices, who play a vital and valuable role in Scotland’s economy.

“The skills developed through work-based learning are valued by employers and also by young people looking to get the best possible start in their careers. The support for Scottish Apprenticeship Week from industry and employers demonstrates the importance they place in developing their workforce and promoting apprenticeships.”