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Barry Stewart and Barry Neill are both employees with waste management company Viridor in the Lothians and both are working, learning and earning as part of Graduate Apprenticeships.

They are both studying at Heriot Watt University and both are in the first year of their Business Management Graduate Apprenticeship.

Viridor’s Dunbar landfill site supervisor Barry Stewart comes from an agricultural background but became involved in the recycling industry several years ago.

The 41-year-old from East Linton heard about the Graduate Apprenticeship through his employers.

He said: “It was on our internal website and I thought it was a great opportunity to get a qualification while I was working.

The fact that the company have chosen to put two of us through the Graduate Apprenticeship is fantastic.”

Barry believes the Graduate Apprenticeship formalises what he knows, while giving him opportunities to learn about new things and all of it benefits the business and his work life.

He said: “I would say to anyone who is given this opportunity to do a Graduate Apprenticeship to go for it. It is hard work, but the outcome is worth it.

“At the end of my Graduate Apprenticeship I will have a degree from Heriot Watt University so that makes the time and effort worthwhile.”

His colleague Barry Neill works as a collections business manager at Viridor’s Bonnyrigg site.

Barry, 45, said: “The Graduate Apprenticeship is very challenging, but it is also very enjoyable.

“We are lucky being there and earning at the same time. It is stretching us, but we got our results from our first batch of exams and did well, so that was a real boost.”

He added: “There’s lots of support from the company and the University and there’s a WhatsApp group where the other students are always happy to help each other.”

I would say to anyone who is given this opportunity to do a Graduate Apprenticeship to go for it. It is hard work, but the outcome is worth it.

Barry Stewart, landfill site supervisor

Viridor Group Apprenticeship Lead Rebecca Darch said: “We are working across the business to launch a number of apprenticeship programmes.

“These will up-skill and develop employees in our core business functions such as engineering, project management, leadership and operations.

“Never before has there been such a range of apprenticeship opportunities for people at every stage of their career. This is an exciting time for all involved.”

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