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Early Learning and Childcare apprentices in Edinburgh shared their knowledge of the profession with a Scottish Cabinet Secretary as part of a national initiative.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Construction, Derek Mackay MSP, this week (Tuesday 5 June) spent time at North Edinburgh Childcare as part of the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) ‘Apprentice for the Day’ challenge.

North Edinburgh Childcare (NEC) is a nursery and childcare provider offering high quality, flexible and affordable childcare to support parents to lift themselves out of poverty.

The organisation also deliver Employability Fund and Modern Apprenticeship programmes and currently have 24 apprentices on board.

The Apprentice for the Day challenge was launched by Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn during SDS’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week in March.

The challenge sees MSPs shadow apprentices with a Scottish employer and aims to raise awareness of the contribution which apprentices make to Scotland’s economy.

MSPs who participate in a challenge will nominate others to take part, to keep the initiative moving forward.

Mr Mackay was nominated for the challenge by Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, who spent time with engineering apprentices at TechnipFMC in Dunfermline.

During his visit, Mr Mackay was keen to see how apprentices are helping the expansion of the Early Years offer across Scotland.

He met with Modern Apprentice Emma Whitfield and Callum Alderdice, who is going through the nursery’s Childcare Academy programme.

Funded by SDS’s Employability Fund, the Childcare Academy programme aims to support young school leavers and unemployed people to get into childcare, undertaking relevant training and work experience.

"Ensuring the workforce of tomorrow are equipped with the skills and training required to respond to the changing nature of the Scottish Economy is vitally important to the Scottish Government."

Derek Mackay MSP

Modern Apprentice Emma originally joined NEC through the Childcare Academy in February 2017, before getting started in the Modern Apprenticeship in June of last year. On completion of her apprenticeship, she will move on to a permanent Early Years Practitioner role with NEC.

Mr Mackay worked alongside both Emma and Callum to find out what a typical day is like for apprentices in childcare.

Upon arrival, the Cabinet Secretary met with the senior management team, before sitting down with the nursery manager Shaz Akbar, Callum and Emma.

He then spent time in the nursery playrooms and gardens with the apprentices, interacting with children and getting to grips with a typical day in class.

Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay added: “I want to thank North Edinburgh Childcare for inviting me to complete my Apprentice for the Day challenge and for providing me with the opportunity to learn more about how apprentices are helping the expansion of the Early Years offer across Scotland.   

“Ensuring the workforce of tomorrow are equipped with the skills and training required to respond to the changing nature of the Scottish Economy is vitally important to the Scottish Government. Through our national agency, Skills Development Scotland, we are ensuring our skills investment continues to maximise the talent and potential of our future workforce."  

Katie Hutton, Director of National Training Programmes at Skills Development Scotland, said: “The Apprentice for the Day challenge is a great opportunity to highlight the important role which work-based learning plays in Scotland’s economy.

“Employers benefit from the programme just as much as the apprentices themselves, as they are able to access and train talent to suit their business needs. There has never been a better time to get involved with apprenticeships.”

Theresa Allison, General Manager at North Edinburgh Childcare said: “Mr Mackay’s visit has been a wonderful opportunity for our apprentices to showcase their work. Here at NEC we are well aware of the challenge to recruit to the childcare workforce in Scotland in response to the 1140 hours of free childcare by 2020.

“North Edinburgh Childcare has a major role to play in supporting new workers into the sector through our Employability Fund and Modern Apprenticeships programmes.”

Get involved

Follow the challenge on Twitter through #ApprenticefortheDay18.

For further information about apprenticeships go to apprenticeships.scot 

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