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The work of six talented apprentices to help an Edinburgh community’s city farm has won the top award in a national competition.

A group of employees from Aberdeen Standard Investments were crowned overall winners of Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) first Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge.

Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge 2017 winning team from Aberdeen Standard Investments in Edinburgh

The winning team, who have now all completed their Modern Apprenticeships in Digital Application Support at SCQF Level 6, transformed the entrance to Gorgie City Farm. The farm is solely run on donations and serves the community by offering visitors hands on educational and learning opportunities along with educational tours and workshops for organised groups.

Apprentices Shannon Macnamara, Kaylum O’Neill, Lewis Hunter, Logan Donaldson, Ryan Fox and Jenna Newton encouraged other members of the business to get involved as part of the project.



Pilot year

The competition challenged apprentices from businesses in three regions to carry out projects that would benefit their local community.

For this pilot year, the 2017 Challenge was run in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce regional groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh and the Chamber of Commerce in Ayrshire.

It follows on from the Modern Apprenticeship Challenge, which has been successfully run by Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce for over 13 years.

Over 60 apprentices took part, with the winning teams from regional heats being put forward to decide an overall winner during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2018 (5-9 March).

In Glasgow, the winning team from Scottish Water developed walking tours of Waste Water Treatment sites for teachers.

Ayrshire’s winning team from S+C Engineering made a sensory bench to support residents at Dundonald House care home who suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s.


Personal development of apprentices

A celebration event took place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week to reveal the overall winner. The apprentices, their employers and regional representatives from Developing the Young Workforce and Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce gathered with judges in Glasgow on Friday, 9 March.

Judges included Country Manager at Microsoft, Steven Grier, YoungScot Digital Academy Manager, Allan Lindsay and SDS Director of National Training Programmes, Katie Hutton.

SDS’s Katie Hutton said: “All the judges were incredibly impressed by the projects and it was clear that the Challenge has supported the personal development of the apprentices and enabled them to develop additional skills which will assist them throughout their career.

“It was an incredibly close call, however, the team from Aberdeen Standard Investments stood out in terms of demonstrating how their project benefited the community and the skills they developed as part of the process.”



Launch of Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge 2018

Skills Development Scotland has also announced that the Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge returns this year and is looking for employers and their apprentices from more regions across the country to participate and benefit their communities.

Employers can register an interest in participating in the Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge 2018 by e-mailing

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