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Taking a Foundation Apprenticeship in Scientific Technologies was a successful experiment for Annabel Stewart, who now wants to pursue a Science career.

The Dunbar Grammar pupil found out about Foundation Apprenticeships from her chemistry teacher and thought it would be the perfect option to add value to her final school years. 

Talking about her decision to take a Foundation Apprenticeship, Annabel said: “I spent the whole summer worrying because I didn’t know what subjects I was going to choose. I found out about the Scientific Technologies Foundation Apprenticeship and thought it would give me the opportunity to do something more exciting at school.

“I had been thinking about going on to pursue a career in art but taking a Foundation Apprenticeship seemed like a great chance to learn real world skills.” 

Foundation Apprenticeships are taken alongside Highers and Nationals as a school subject in senior phase over one or two academic years.  

Through a Foundation Apprenticeship, pupils spend time out of school with a learning provider, such as a college, and gain valuable workplace experience with an employer. 

Completion leads to a qualification at the same level as a Higher, which can support progression on to a job, such as a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship, or entry into college or university. 

Annabel spent the first year of her Foundation Apprenticeship attending her local education hub in Dunbar Grammar time spent at Charles River Laboratories, Edinburgh. 

 

“I spent the whole summer worrying because I didn’t know what subjects I was going to choose at school. When I found out about the Scientific Technologies Foundation Apprenticeship I thought it would give me the opportunity to do something more exciting at school. I had been thinking about going on to pursue a career in art but taking a Foundation Apprenticeship seemed like a great chance to learn real world skills.”

Annabel Stewart, Foundation Apprentice

Now, in her second year, the 17-year-old is visiting Charles River two afternoons per week with an additional placement to gain industry skills and work-experience within plant biology that will count towards gaining her qualification. 

In the Environmental Science department, she has been testing reactions to chemicals to see if they are safe for the environment.

Annabel explained: “At Charles River, I am treated like an adult and every day is different. You might be working on an interesting experiment and then move on to something else, but as a result, you get to understand how everything works and how it all links together as a service.”

Life-changing

Taking the apprenticeship was life-changing for Annabel, who is now clear about what she wants to do after school.

Annabel explained: “Before I started my apprenticeship, if someone had told me that it would make me interested in a career in science I wouldn’t have believed them. Now, I love the industry and I am loving the Foundation Apprenticeship. 

“Through the Foundation Apprenticeship I’ve become a lot more confident and I understand how to behave in a workplace environment. 

“I’m interested in looking into a Modern Apprenticeship after I leave school so, I’m speaking to the apprentices working at Charles River to get more information about what’s involved.” 

Charles River Laboratories Edinburgh currently employs two Modern Apprentices and has taken on nine Foundation Apprentices to support the firm’s workforce planning. 

Stephen Madden, Head of Regulatory ADME and Discovery Sciences at Charles River Laboratories said: "Offering opportunities to Foundation Apprentices was a business decision, as we were thinking about potential talent and struggled at school level. Through Foundation Apprenticeships our business would gain exposure to young people and encourage them to look into a career in science.

Throughout her time here, Annabel has developed an interest in plant biology and, overall, she understands the work and is naturally growing and thinking more clearly about what she wants to do. Her thinking is more mature.”

More information

Visit apprenticeships.scot to find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships.

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