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Apprenticeships give Pointer new direction as it diversifies in 50th year

Work-based learning Apprenticeships Employers

Glasgow-based firm Pointer Ltd has invested in additional support for apprentices to help diversify its business and secure skills for its future.

Enabling access to an apprenticeship opportunity for people, regardless of barriers to learning, has been a focus for fire and security specialists Pointer Ltd, which maintained its commitment during the pandemic – recruiting an additional 10 apprentices, with plans to recruit four more in 2022.

Addressing barriers to learning

The small firm began training apprentices in 1975 and have, to date, trained more than 160 apprentices, with the support of Pointer’s own purpose-built SQA approved training centre. Currently there are 13 Modern Apprentices and one Graduate Apprentice employed at the company, which is an IIP and IIYP Gold employer and supports MA to GA pathways.

Founded in 1972 by Bob Rowan, Pointer strives to ensure that specific needs of individuals are met, and strategies are put in place to address any barriers to learning.

Pointer Limited David Buntain 022

Pointer Ltd Development Officer David Buntain explained one recent example: “We invested in the purchase of software to support learners with levels of dyslexia and ensured extra time in college for individuals identified as requiring additional support to reach the standard required to pass assessment.

Supporting needs to achieve

“In 2019, two applicants self-declared as dyslexic and, as a result, skills testing materials were printed in a dyslexia-readable font and a separate session was hosted for them which allowed additional time to complete the tests.

“We also provide the necessary environment and tools to assist the apprentices in learning the skills, experience, and behaviours they need to be a success in their chosen career, while boosting their confidence and independence.

“This ensures that apprentices have the best opportunity of success regardless of challenges or barriers to learning.”

Increasing opportunities for young people

Pointer Ltd is constantly branching out into new skills and subject areas, to ensure apprenticeships meet the ever-changing needs of business as well as broadening the scope of opportunities available to young people.

David continued: “We want to offer a wider range of options for apprentices based on their skills and interests. This will help us to diversify our workforce and make us adaptable and resilient to market changes.

“We are currently working with a young apprentice who was interested in the cyber security aspect of the business. He is now a Graduate Apprentice being mentored by our cyber security expert to complete a degree in the subject, all of which is being funded by Pointer.”

Over 12,000 employers support Scottish Apprenticeships, which are work-based learning opportunities or jobs with industry-recognised qualifications. Designed with employers for employers, Scottish Apprenticeships are demand-led and responsive to regional skills needs.

Track record of success

Pointer, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, has been recognised for its investment in apprenticeships as SME Apprentice Employer of the Year, sponsored by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

David said: “Our 50th year gives us the opportunity to reflect on a long-standing track record of delivering apprenticeship opportunities and how we can continue to build on the apprenticeships that are available and turn them in to successful careers which are fit for the future.

“Probably the most measurable business benefit of apprenticeships is that most of our apprentices stay with us and progress through our career path in the company. Some have been with us over 30 years.

“Through our career path two thirds of managers in Pointer started off with our Modern Apprenticeship programme. We strongly believe in promoting from within the business.”

Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

View full list of Scottish Apprenticeship Awards winners here.