Scots business leaders urged to provide ‘earn and learn’ opportunities

Leo Quinn established The 5% Club five years ago

SCOTTISH business leaders have been attending a conference in Rosyth hosted by The 5% Club to encourage firms to embed ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities into their organisations.

The 5% Club was set up five years ago by Leo Quinn, group chief executive of Balfour Beatty. The aim was to encourage employers to offer as many ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities as possible. It now has more than 340 employer-members, who aspire to having 5% of their workforce undertaking ‘earn and learn’ training, including apprenticeships, graduate training or sponsored student schemes.

50 business leaders were expected to attend the conference at Babcock International’s Rosyth base.

Lady Cobham CBE, director general of The 5% Club said, “Embedding an ‘earn and learn’ ethos into any organisation is vital. Not only does it provide employees with skills for life, it also opens up opportunities to people from different backgrounds who may otherwise not have access to further education and lifelong careers. At the same time, businesses also benefit. We hear first hand from our members that ‘earn and learn’ training really is the heart of their business, providing a loyal workforce with relevant skills both for today and the future. This drives economic growth by ensuring our businesses are ready, agile and equipped with the right skills to operate efficiently and productively, and enables UK businesses to compete in a global market.”

Sean Donaldson, Babcock’s managing director of energy and marine commented, “Babcock is a proud founding member of The 5% Club and we are pleased to host its first meeting in Scotland at our Rosyth facilities. We are passionate about developing talent within our organisation and this event reminds us of the many opportunities that we have to equip our graduates and apprentices with the skills and knowledge needed to help them develop rewarding careers and drive our businesses forward.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty managing director for Scotland added, “At Balfour Beatty, we are acutely aware of our industry’s skills shortage. We must take action if we are to deliver the significant pipeline of major infrastructure projects to which the UK is committed. As a member of The 5% Club, we have recruited numerous apprentices, graduates and trainees in Scotland this year alone, and have witnessed first-hand how ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities can help us achieve our aim of recruiting a new generation of construction professionals. By offering such positions across the business, and by actively engaging with our future generation, we are tapping into a new market of individuals with the relevant skills needed to ensure our business is able to thrive now, and in the future.”

Shams Rahimi, Graham Apprentice and recent winner of CITB’s ‘Scotland Apprentice of the Year’ and ‘Scotland South Apprentice of the Year’ awards said, “Being part of an apprenticeship scheme has led to life-changing opportunities which I couldn’t have accessed through other routes to employment. The training provided by my employer not only helped me to establish a career in the construction industry, but massively supported my own personal development as a result of continuous learning – both practically and in the classroom. I’d encourage businesses in all sectors to look at the extensive benefits which these types of programmes can bring to their workforce.”

Shams Rahimi