Inverclyde Council celebrates record number of apprentices

A record number of modern apprentices have joined the ranks of Inverclyde Council in the past year.

The local authority revealed it currently has 77 modern apprentices across a range of services including in construction, with the ‘majority’ of the current crop gathering at the Muncipal Buildings in Greenock to mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2023.

Councillor Michael McCormick, Inverclyde Council’s convener of environment and regeneration, said, “An apprenticeship provides an excellent launchpad for our young people to pursue a successful career in their chosen field. With support from experienced, professional staff right across the council, they learn valuable workplace and often life skills while working towards an industry-recognised qualification and, crucially, earning a wage at the same time.

“Whether our MAs continue working with the council at the end of their apprenticeship, carry on their careers in the private or third sectors, or move into further training or education, they will have had a solid grounding that sets them up for whatever path they choose next.

“It was great to meet so many of our talented young workforce and find out a bit more about their experiences to help celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2023 and I wish them continued success.”

As well as attaining the relevant qualification, the scheme provides modern apprentices with additional training if required, to ensure their learning encompasses all aspects of their job role.

They also receive digital devices and connectivity to enable them to work off the job on their college work and provide access to a range of life skills, including money management.

The council works in partnership with local third sector organisations to provide additional on-the-job learning, including Parklea Branching Out, Branchton Community Centre, Belville Community Gardens, and Broomhill Gardens.

Among the current batch of modern apprentices is Eilidh Brown who is the first female apprentice joiner.

Eilidh, who is 19 and from Gourock, said, “It’s a four-year joinery apprenticeship and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s challenging but I love the hands-on experiences that it provides. I’m gaining skills and knowledge of a professional trade that will hopefully allow me to secure employment once fully qualified. I hope I can also encourage more females into this industry.”

The council’s MA programme is open to Inverclyde residents and although the focus is on providing opportunities for those aged 16–24, roles are often available to people aged 25+.

New school craft technician Mark Strachan is now 25 but joined the programme when he was 24.

Mark, from Greenock, said, “I had over five years’ experience in retail management when I decided on a change of career and successfully gained an apprenticeship in September 2022. I was looking for a new challenge and that’s exactly what this role provides. Attending college three days per week and putting the skills I have learned into practice alongside a qualified technician in the workplace allows me to get a good variety of practical experience.

“I have never looked back and I am really glad that I made the decision to apply for a modern apprenticeship.”