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The work of a Foundation Apprentice could potentially help save hundreds of lives across Scotland.

Mallaig High School pupil Struan Robertson has helped design and develop the well-known Lucky2BHere website which provides defibrillator location information.

His work has helped promote the Highland-based charity to a global audience.

Struan, aged 18, finds it rewarding to contribute to such a great cause.

He said: “It’s definitely a great feeling knowing your work is making a difference to peoples’ lives.

“On top of that, it’s a bonus that I’m getting experience in an area that I’ve always been interested in while I’m still at school.”

Foundation Apprenticeships give young people in S5 and S6 the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification, at the same level as a Higher, alongside their other subjects.

This type of work-based learning also provides pupils with the opportunity to get real work experience – with Struan completing a placement through Google hangout calls with Isle of Skye digital company Sitekit, who are responsible for the Lucky2BHere website.

As part of the second year of his Foundation Apprenticeship, Struan has been given the task of developing the online donations page. This experience has consolidated his ambition to work in the digital world.

He explained: “The Foundation Apprenticeship has opened my eyes to what’s out there and I now want to go to the University of Dundee to study computer science.

It’s definitely a great feeling knowing your work is making a difference to peoples’ lives. On top of that, it’s a bonus that I’m getting experience in an area that I’ve always been interested in while I’m still at school.

Struan Robertson, Software Development Foundation Apprentice

Struan, who is from the Isle of Eigg, added: “It’s quite a big decision to move down there. It will probably be harder for my Mum than it will for me.

“My family have been really supportive and just want me to follow my dreams, this feels like the next logical step in that journey.”

Adam Robertson, Head of Curriculum at West Highland College UHI said: “The pupils in our partner High Schools are spread across a vast geographical area, so as a college we have had to be innovative to create ways that even those in the most remote areas aren’t disadvantaged in the opportunities they have. 

“We have developed a highly interactive and successful method of teaching using a combination of virtual learning environments and video conferencing to deliver the theory parts of the lessons and to set tasks which can be closely monitored in real time by our lecturers. 

He added: “The pupils really enjoy this method of learning and collaboration and it has proved extremely successful and popular with the pupils.  Especially in the IT industry, this type of digital work practice will be commonplace, and it gives the pupils a real flavour of what working in the industry could be like.”

Sitekit founder and CEO, Campbell Grant said: “Due to our remote location we have developed an innovative ‘online apprenticeship’ scheme and Struan took full advantage of this to join our team in Portree every week.

“The excellent work Struan did on the Lucky2bHere website is a fabulous example of the exciting hands-on project work that foundation apprentices can engage in to learn real-life, practical skills that prepare students for the commercial world,” he added.

Nicola Hearndon, Foundation Apprenticeship in IT Software Development lecturer, said: “Struan has made a great start into his chosen field of Software Development and through the Foundation Apprenticeship has gained valuable work and programming experience.

“It has been an interesting journey and one that really proves that Virtual Delivery does not mean “remote” and indeed brings a world of opportunity all of its own.”  

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