Foundation Apprenticeship helps Milo crack business code
Switched-on Milo Mitchell took a Foundation Apprenticeship that has opened doors to support his future career - and he's using the skills he gained to get a head start in business.
The former Musselburgh Grammar pupil says the hands-on work experience he got on his Business Skills Foundation Apprenticeship has boosted his collaboration and problem-solving abilities as well as growing his network of contacts.
His Foundation Apprenticeship experience helped land him a place on the prestigious CodeClan Summer Youth Academy, where he studied software development before a paid internship with a digital design agency in Edinburgh – offering him a foot in the door of an exciting sector and bolstering his CV.
Real-world business experience
Milo, 17, has now landed a job as an Intellectual Capital Assistant at global investment firm Baillie Gifford - and says his Foundation Apprenticeship helped him get the role.
Milo worked with small and large businesses and schools on digital marketing projects through his placement with East Lothian Works during his Foundation Apprenticeship, taken as a subject in his final two years at school alongside Highers in English, Art, Philosophy and Music.
He said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship was such a great way of understanding the businesses and feeling confident enough to actively make decisions, take on projects and contribute.
“To me that was what solidified the meaning of the Foundation Apprenticeship and how much it stood out to me compared to other subjects at school.
“Just being used to the school environment, I didn’t know how jobs worked – on a Foundation Apprenticeship you have problems and technical issues and you deal with them. It was an amazing experience.”
Milo’s first project on the apprenticeship – which he began during the COVID-19 pandemic - involved collating a database of business Twitter accounts in East Lothian and matching the firms up to schools to explore what courses, placements or apprenticeships they could offer local pupils.
Sectors covered included hospitality and event management, with firms ranging from small operations to larger outfits such as Morrison Construction.
The experience, initially conducted with his learning provider Limelight Careers over Zoom calls during lockdown, involved managing multiple stakeholders, working out the logistics of partnerships and presenting his findings to the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) team.
Another project involved carrying out research, interviews with schools and data analysis to explore how newsletters could maximise delivery of information to pupils on work and training opportunities, with Milo again presenting his findings. The outcome was his idea to develop a single newsletter to be sent to every school in East Lothian.
Managing projects and boosting confidence
Milo added: “My project finalised my opinion on the Foundation Apprenticeship, as it was great to show my research, to properly lead out that task and complete it.
“The experience I gained on my Foundation Apprenticeship has given my CV such a leg-up. Compared to some of my friends, their only employment skills are weekend jobs.
“An apprenticeship is not like a degree, where you’re doing one thing for years on end and then you’ll get a placement. You see your work happening.
“Having the responsibility and power to manage projects and deliver results, that was where the fundamental love for business came in. I don’t want to limit myself - I can go anywhere with this.
“An apprenticeship can be such a personal experience because of how well you can shape it. You’re the one doing the work, it’s your responsibility.”
Chosen as a subject in senior phase, Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6 give pupils time with a learning provider – such as a college – and industry experience that leads directly to a qualification at the same level as a Higher.
Elaine Gorman, DYW schools coordinator at East Lothian Works, said: “It was a pleasure to work with Milo and to witness him grow his business confidence over the academic year.
“It was great to witness him flying solo and using his networking, communication and enterprise skills to start at the CodeClan Youth Academy, where the opportunities to connect and work with others are numerous.
“The Foundation Apprenticeship gave Milo a really useful platform from which to build his connections with businesspeople from a range of sectors including travel and tourism, Edinburgh City Chamber, local government, hospitality and software.”
Foot in the door of booming sectors
Milo was attracted to the Code Clan Youth Academy as he wanted to gain an understanding of software development and data, either to enter that sector or add to his suite of business skills. The Academy was followed by a paid internship at The Lane digital marketing agency in Leith, Edinburgh.
Aileen O’Hagan, Initiatives Manager at CodeClan, said: “The CodeClan Youth Academy (CCYA) is an industry backed summer coding programme that aims to get more young people into the world of technology.
“Work-based learning is hugely beneficial to prepare young people for the world of work. Scotland has thousands of vacancies to fill across technology and companies are increasingly looking for alternative ways to recruit new talent. Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships are an excellent way to recruit new people and retain them in your organisation.
“The experience Milo has gained through a Foundation Apprenticeship demonstrated his willingness to learn, strong work ethic and problem-solving skills.”