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Talented apprentices from Ayrshire have won national recognition for their work to support the community.

The team of three Modern Apprentices from metalwork manufacturer, SAS International in Maybole, were crowned winners of the Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge for creating a moving WW1 memorial for the local community.


The national event, hosted by Skills Development Scotland during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, is a celebration of regional Apprenticeship Challenge competitions run by local Developing the Young Workforce groups.

Teams of apprentices representing companies from across the regions plan, coordinate and execute projects using the skills they have developed through their apprenticeships, gaining more through the project.

Historical significance

After consulting with locals to scope out potential projects, Declan Milne, Lauren Gracie and Ben West focused on creating a WW1 memorial that would enable them to use materials on site at SAS International.

Six factories in Maybole made the tackety boots for WW1 soldiers and so the team wanted to recognise the impact the war had on the local community.

Lasting legacy

To save money, the group used scrap materials from the factory to create the final memorial.

They learned new skills from other colleagues to create the final pieces, which included an innovative anamorphic sculpture that displayed a poppy from one perspective and displayed the year 1918 from another view.

The Ayrshire apprentices also raised over £300 for veterans as part of the project and have been asked by the British Legion for more support.

Speaking about the win, SAS International team member Ben said: “We’re amazed to win. The amount of teams we have been up against and their ideas have been amazing.

“To make it this far with our idea of a war memorial and to win it overall, is outstanding.

“The project from SQA was a fantastic idea that other employers and industries can learn from so, for us to top that, is surreal.”

The other team celebrated at the final hailed from the Scottish Qualifications Authority in Glasgow.

Voluntary experience

The other team celebrated at the final hailed from the Scottish Qualifications Authority in Glasgow.

The four Modern Apprentices designed and delivered their voluntary project named ‘Work Experience for All’.

The Glasgow team, which included Lindsey Burke, Lauren Graham and Eve Cunningham, partnered with Cherry Road Learning Centre, which provides a day service for adults with complex, profound or multiple learning disabilities, and offers a range of activities, experiences and opportunities.

Commitment and dedication

The group were recognised as winners of the regional 2019 Glasgow Apprenticeship Challenge hosted by Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow.

Fiona Robertson, SQA chief executive, said, “Our Modern Apprentices fully embraced the challenge and it is fantastic that this has been recognised today. Their time at Cherry Road Learning Centre gave them a unique opportunity to own a project and challenge themselves whilst making a much-appreciated contribution to their local community.

“As an employer we have seen their confidence and skillset grow through doing the Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge. Everyone at SQA is really proud of our winning team.”

The two teams presented their projects to guests and judges at the national celebration, held at Scottish Power in Glasgow.

One of the judges and head of National Training Programmes at SDS, Katie Hutton said: “Both teams of apprentices have to be applauded for their commitment and dedication to their projects, which were inspirational.

“As judges, we were impressed with how the team from SAS tackled such a complex project, it’s impact on the community and the legacy that it delivers.”

More information

To find out more about Scottish Apprenticeships visit

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