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More than 300 schools across Scotland were involved in 2015’s Learning Through Work Week.

Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) network of careers advisers and employer engagement staff worked with local businesses to set up the school visits from 16 to 20 November.

The visits aimed to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships

During the visits, pupils had the chance to watch short films showcasing apprenticeships and to ask employers, apprentices and training providers about their experiences.

Businesses from across Scotland embraced the chance to get involved including Aberdeen Asset Management, Aldi, Arnold Clark, Aviva, Borders Safeguard Ltd, CalMac, CITB, CMS Windows, Currie European Transport, Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd, Direct Engineering, EDF Energy, Forth Ports, French Duncan , GTG Training, Harris Tweed Hebrides, Ineos, McConechy's Tyre & Auto Centres, Old Course Hotel , OPITO, Orkney Housing Association, Polaris, Prudential, QinetiQ, RBS, SSE, Scottish Power, Score, Talisman, Taylor Wimpey and Wind Towers Scotland

The visits also helped employers build on their links with schools in their area and tell pupils about available opportunities in the local communities.

Skills Show

The week also included a series of high profile events.

Twenty schools from across the Highlands attended the P&J Skills Show in Inverness on Tuesday 17 November.

The event was a partnership between the Press & Journal, Skills Development Scotland, My World of Work and Highland Council

SDS Careers Advisers offered one-to-one career coaching sessions to help pupils think about what they might want to do, as well as offering information and advice on applications, CVs and what to expect from interviews.

At the My World of Work stand, pupils had access to the award-winning web service’s top tips, tools, advice and resources while the Learning Through Work Sessions offered more about work-based learning routes into careers.

Thousands of pupils, teachers and parents attended the Skills Scotland event in Glasgow (18 and 19 November)

Employers, colleges, universities, training providers and industry advisers were on hand to talk to pupils - more than 50 exhibitors in all.

At the Ask an Apprentice stand pupils will also be able to talk directly to apprentices about their experiences, ask questions about their roles, and find out why it could be a great route for them after school.

Skills Development Scotland’s Luisa Moreno said: “This event is a one-stop shop for young people to find out more about all the options open to them when they leave school, giving them the chance to get a hands-on experience of their possible future career.

“We are here to help with free, impartial, one-to-one advice on what’s ahead, whether it’s going on to further or higher education, into a job or Modern Apprenticeship.

“Similar events in Aberdeen and Edinburgh in October were a huge success, and we’re sure pupils will find their visit really useful.”


Lessons learned in the setting up of Switzerland and Germany’s successful work-based learning systems dominated discussions at SDS’s Leadership in Work-based Learning Symposium in Glasgow (19 November).

The event drew delegates from across the public and private sector, with speakers from around Europe attending

SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates discussed how business can more intelligently invest in a long term workforce with higher skills, highlighting that lessons have already been learned in Scotland from the Swiss and German work-based learning models.

A focus on integrated work-based learning opportunities in the senior phase of school was highlighted as one of the secrets of success, blending knowledge, skills and capability to enrich young people’s experiences and better prepare them for the world of work – with  Foundation Apprenticeships highlighted.

Starting on S4 or S5, a Foundation Apprenticeship takes two years to complete and is part of subject choices. Pupils work towards an industry recognised qualification, spending time out of school at college and with a local employer.

Current Engineering Foundation Apprentices from Lochgelly High School met delegates to discuss their experiences.

Sixth year pupil Ellis Powell is planning to study maths at university, she said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship has really helped me to develop my problem-solving skills, which is a really important part of maths. 

“Our school group is split half and half between males and females but it’s not a surprise that more and more girls are interested in a career in engineering.  Our teacher worked really hard to make sure the girls in my year group understood what the FA was about and how it could help us in the future.” 

Read more about the Symposium.

The centrepiece of the week saw the achievements of individuals and employers involved in Modern Apprenticeships celebrated at Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards.

Find out more about the winners by following this link

The countdown is now on to Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 from 29 February to 4 March.

Find out how you can get involved.

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