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Lanark-based Junjie Xu believes his Foundation Apprenticeship has given him the perfect start for a career in finance.

While in sixth year at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh Junjie found out about doing a Foundation Apprenticeship in Financial Services, alongside his Highers and Nat 5s.

He found out about it from his Skills Development Scotland careers adviser who knew he was interested in this type of career. Junjie saw the opportunity as a first step towards him studying accountancy.

The 19-old-year said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship really appealed to me because it gave me the opportunity to try out the career I wanted to pursue.

"I could gain work experience that would look good on my CV and the qualification would give me a better chance of getting into college.”

During his apprenticeship Junjie attended classes at Edinburgh College for two days a week, before undertaking a three-week intensive work placement.

He became the first person on the Financial Services Foundation Apprenticeship in Edinburgh to be placed with an employer to carry out his work-based learning. He went to Virgin Money in the capital.

Junjie said: “Everyone at Virgin Money, especially my mentor, Raymond, was very helpful and made sure starting my work-based learning was a smooth process.”

At college, Junjie gained an understanding of the finance sector by successfully completing his National Progression Award (NPA) in Financial Services. He could apply this new knowledge in a real working environment during his placement.

Junjie’s mentor at Virgin Money, Raymond Martin, was impressed by his knowledge and work ethic.

He said: “Although Junjie had challenges to manage his placement this didn’t affect his contribution to the team, which was fantastic. Not only has he benefitted from taking the Foundation Apprenticeship, the staff and business have built on their experience of managing employees with additional needs.”

Junjie was also a finalist in the Foundation Apprentice category of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards which were held last November.

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