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Scotland's food and drink industry is raising a glass to cheer the successful completion of the country's first Modern Apprenticeships in brewing skills.

Stuart Byers and Matthew Bennett, who work at Six Degrees North brewery in Laurencekirk, are now uniquely SVQ-qualified in one of the world's oldest industries.

Craft Skills Scotland is the first training provider in Scotland approved to deliver the apprenticeships, approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and funded by Skills Development Scotland (SDS). 

This qualification is designed for candidates who are working in a craft brewery environment and looking to develop their existing skills and knowledge.  This week, a delighted Stuart (35) and Matthew (35), both from Stonehaven, received their certificates for their unique achievement.

 

Stuart said: "It's been a tough course but really rewarding and we're chuffed to get our qualification.

 

"I would never have studied full-time at university so to be able to gain a qualification while working and earning is a fantastic option. It will prove popular with other men and women in the trade."

 

Matthew added: "I felt I knew how to brew, having learned on the job," he said, "but to study and gain a qualification to say that I do officially feels great.

 

"This apprenticeship allows you to study in your own time and doesn't detract from your day-to-day learning experience on the job."

Now more than ever it’s important that employers and individuals have access to the right training and qualifications to help them navigate the challenges of COVID-19, but also be equipped with the skills needed for the future.

Gerry McBride, Food & Drink Sector Manager at Skills Development Scotland

Breweries sustain more than 8,500 jobs in Scotland and Gerry McBride, Food & Drink Sector Manger at SDS said that completion by the first cohort of modern apprentices in brewing represented an exciting step and a real boost for the industry at a critical time. 

 

He said: “Now more than ever it’s important that employers and individuals have access to the right training and qualifications to help them navigate the challenges of COVID-19, but also be equipped with the skills needed for the future.” 

 

The Brewing Skills apprenticeship programme is the latest step by food and drink producers to attract talent, a priority outlined in Scotland Food & Drink's Ambition 2030 strategy which aims to join up industry and education to promote the benefits of working in the sector to those leaving school.

 

Claire Simpson, Training Manager with Craft Skills Scotland, said Stuart and Matthew were just the first in a pipeline of apprentices from Orkney to the Borders being trained as brewing craftsmen in consultation with the Scottish brewing industry.

 

"This Modern Apprenticeship has been drawn up to meet the needs of all brewers - from micro-businesses to major employers.

“Stuart and Matthew's success is testament to their own hard work and efforts as well as the full support they received from their employers.”

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