Having access to the right skills enables employers to have high performing, highly productive workplaces that will be an evident feature of Scotland 2035, and provides the capacity to adapt well to change and disruption.

Businesses need to be able to attract, develop and retain a diverse pool of talent to meet their current and future skills needs.

"As a business we are all about two things, our beer and our people. Supporting the development of our crew at our HQ in Ellon is critical to our people strategy therefore it made absolute sense to get our workforce on board with gaining qualifications to benefit them both personally and professionally."
Andrew Marrins, Head of Learning and Development at Brewdog. (Pictured: Brewdog Graduate Apprentice, Louise Wyllie)

Investing through apprenticeships

Craft beer specialists BrewDog have been investing in their workforce through the development of an apprenticeship programme.

In 2015, our Skills for Growth initiative helped BrewDog identify growth priorities and as a result the Aberdeenshire-based brewer recruited 20 Modern Apprentices across the growing business and a ‘Happiness Manager’ to handle training and development for its predominately young workforce.

In the four years since, BrewDog have raised millions through equity crowdfunding, opened breweries overseas and are recognised as one of the fastest growing food and drink businesses in the UK.

Now the company are embracing other exciting opportunities through the apprenticeship family by supporting 31-year-old Louise Wyllie through a four-year Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management at Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Earning and learning

Louise is employed as a senior customer service specialist by the multinational brewery. Her apprenticeship will see her complete an honours degree within the workplace, with the support of a dedicated mentor at BrewDog and support staff at the university.

Louise had been working as a senior UK customer service specialist for three years, before becoming the company’s UK customer service team lead. She sees her apprenticeship as a key part of her career progression.

Being able to take the theory you learn and immediately put it to use in your day job is very rewarding.

Louise Wyllie, Business Management Graduate Apprentice and BrewDog UK Customer Service Team Lead

Employer benefits

Work-based learning programmes, like Graduate Apprenticeships, not only benefit the apprentice but also directly address the needs of the business.

Andrew Marrins, Head of Learning and Development at Brewdog, said of apprenticeships: “As a business we are all about two things, our beer and our people. Supporting the development of our crew at our HQ in Ellon is critical to our people strategy therefore it made absolute sense to get our workforce on board with gaining qualifications to benefit them both personally and professionally.

"We predominantly recruit locally and forging relationships with North East Scotland College and Robert Gordon University is integral in helping people to grow with the business.”

“In the fast-paced, frenetic workplace that BrewDog is, it can often be difficult to take a step back and consider the wider context or impact, but this programme is a great opportunity to further develop our talent."

Gary MacTaggart, Brewdog Planning Manager

Graduate Apprenticeship

With the rest of her career ahead of her and hopes of progressing even further at BrewDog, Louise is enjoying the balanced approach of work-based learning and believes many others can benefit from it.

She said: “It has been interesting and challenging so far, learning much more about my company and what I can do in my role to contribute to our goals as a business.

Brewdog’s Planning Manager, Gary MacTaggart, who is mentoring Louise, said: “In the fast-paced, frenetic workplace that BrewDog is, it can often be difficult to take a step back and consider the wider context or impact, but this programme is a great opportunity to further develop our talent."

“Louise has already started to think and approach situations differently, with a greater understanding of how other businesses work, along with the processes and theories of business management."

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