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10 March 2022

Apprentices shine light on their world of work to help spread the word in schools

Apprentices met with Developing the Young Workforce school co-ordinators to highlight the benefits of the work-based learning as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.


As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, a group of apprentices met Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) school co-ordinators from across Scotland, to highlight the benefits of the work-based learning by sharing their apprenticeship experiences.  

The ‘Meet the Apprentice’ event took place online and was led by members of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s Apprentice Engagement Group – a group of apprentices who give their time to help promote the value of apprenticeships and inspire the next generation of young people and employers to get involved.

The apprentices talked about what they like about their role, how they first heard about apprenticeships and what made them choose work-based learning over other options available.

The session forms a series of events provided by Skills Development Scotland for DYW school co-ordinators, whose purpose is to bridge the gap between employers and education, helping young people find fulfilling careers.  

The event centred around an interview-style format, with four apprentices – spanning the range of levels (Foundation, Modern and Graduate apprenticeships) - asking each other to explain why they chose their particular pathway, and how it has shaped their career so far.

Key speaker, Patrycja Wegrzyn, Graduate Apprentice in Software Development at JP Morgan said: 

“My apprenticeship has opened up so many opportunities for me. I will graduate at 21 years old with four year’s work experience and the amount of networking I have done within this time has been amazing. I have met senior people who have mentored and helped me with my career. No one treats you differently – I was looked at as an employee, not a child. I was treated equally, while still getting loads of support.

Patrycja added, “Compared to just university graduates, I know that I will now automatically go on the top of the list for employers.” 

I wanted to earn while I learn. I started with a Foundation Apprenticeship before moving onto a Modern apprenticeship and I have never looked back. I’ve built my communication and team-work skills by working in a business environment.

Key panellist, Jude Riley

Business Admin Modern Apprentice (MA) at Skills Development Scotland

The discussion also touched upon the support provided for apprentices by employers with Software Development Graduate Apprentice at JP Morgan, Megan Harper explaining: 

“I will graduate with a degree and four years’ corporate experience. I am partially deaf but doing a GA, I get support from workplace and uni – sometimes that extra support is all that’s needed. I was invited into my office before I started work to check that everything – all tech and assistance -worked for me. It has given me so much confidence. My other reason for choosing this – I just didn’t want the ‘book student’ life and I knew that with doing a Graduate Apprenticeship, I would graduate without student debt.” 

As part of their ambassadorial role as SAAB Apprentice Engagement Group Members, the apprentice speakers work together to raise awareness of apprenticeships with schools, parents and peers as part of their ‘Influence the Influencers’ work. This activity focuses on key groups such as parents, carers and teachers, recognising the significant impact they have on pupils’ subject and career choices. 

Session facilitator, National Career Information and Guidance Manager at Skills Development Scotland, Mark Steell said: 

"This was a great opportunity for DYW School Co-ordinators to hear first-hand, real-life apprentice stories and see for themselves how apprentices are flying high in their careers. It helps the co-ordinators when speaking to school pupils who making their career choices and also to teachers - to be aware of the numerous benefits on offer by choosing the apprenticeship route." 

DYW Co-ordinators from across Scotland were invited to attend as part of their ongoing Continuous Professional Development, also giving them with the opportunity to ask questions directly to the group and learn more about the value and benefits of apprenticeships.