Our commitment to continuous improvement remains steadfast as we strive to achieve better outcomes, a better customer experience and enable all of our people to reach their potential.

“It is good to feel part of something and it’s going to sound a bit like an Oscars’ speech but I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of my team and SDS in general. A big thanks is due to colleagues in both HR, Finance and Audit and Risk – they’ve helped me every day throughout my apprenticeship and beyond."
Stewart Paton, Risk Admin Assistant

A 25-year-old Greenock man has seen his career go from strength to strength after completing an apprenticeship with Skills Development Scotland.  

Former Glenburn School pupil Stewart Paton started at SDS three years ago as a Business and Administration Modern Apprentice (MA) in the HR team, where he processed information on behalf of new SDS staff. 

Through his MA and with guidance from his colleagues, he developed the skills and talents that saw him progress to a role in the Audit and Risk team.   

“The best thing about my job is being part of an organisation that helps shape the lives of so many people,” explained Stewart. 

“I loved every minute of my apprenticeship; the work I did with the HR team day-to-day helped me gain a qualification and now that I’ve completed my MA, I’ve been able to further develop my career at SDS as a Risk Admin Assistant, which I am thoroughly enjoying.”

Stewart Paton, Risk Admin Assistant

Employability Support

Stewart completed the Certificate of Work Readiness after four years at the West College Scotland’s Finnart Street campus. He feels the employer-recognised qualification made him a more confident person and helped him make the transition from college into the world of work. 

“My college class was given the chance to take part in a pilot for the Certificate of Work Readiness. It includes 190 hours of work experience and combines classroom-based training and learning,” explained Stewart. 

He added: “My college tutors were so helpful in the preparation for the work placement. My college also worked with the organisation Values Into Action Scotland (VIAS) who help young people with additional learning support needs, such as those on the autistic spectrum, get into work. I was one of the individuals that VIAS closely supported alongside with the college’s employability adviser.”  

Stewart said he saw from the description that the Certificate of Work Readiness was a fantastic opportunity to showcase his skills to an employer and give him the experience and a reference to help him go from college to work.  

It included a lot of work preparation and a great focus on workplace skills. 

“We did role-play on work scenarios so I was much clearer about what the work environment was like before I started,” said Stewart.

Work-based learning

He wanted to work in an office environment because it suited his own skills and strengths which allowed him to learn a great deal from the work experience at Inverclyde Council. 

“The whole team was supportive and I felt a valued member of the team. I helped calculate the water rates for council-owned properties and it was a good feeling to know my work helped others,” said Stewart. 

He also felt it made him even more aware of the skills – including his meticulous attention to detail – that he could bring to a workplace. 

His employability adviser from college told him about the Modern Apprenticeship vacancies at Skills Development Scotland. 

"I worked really hard to prepare my application and for the interview because I really wanted to get the job. My employability adviser provided some great one-to-one support, such as role playing for this job interview, which really helped with the SDS recruitment process."

Stewart Paton, Risk Admin Assistant

He got the job and started working in SDS’s George Square headquarters in March 2016 and has since progressed to an administration role in the Risk and Audit team, having also spent time working with the Finance team in a fixed-term administration assistant role.  

“I have grown so much in confidence since I took part in the Certificate of Work Readiness and after completing my MA, I’m a strong advocate for apprenticeships. It’s great to work with colleagues that are supportive and encouraging,” he said. 

Stewart has been involved in several skills and apprenticeship focused events where he got to share his experience with other young people from across Scotland. 

“I would never have thought about doing something like this before, but I thoroughly enjoy it.” said Stewart. 

To find out more about apprenticeships like Stewart's, visit apprenticeships.scot 


Want to know more?

Looking for more information on our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan? Use the links below for detailed information on our goals, other case studies and vision for the future.