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Apprenticeship gets Ailie into her chosen sector

Apprenticeships Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB)

Ailie has just completed her Technical Apprenticeship in IT and Telecommunications at Sky and now helps maintain the company’s 2,500 databases as an Associate Database Engineer.  

After working in customer services in the financial sector for seven years, Ailie was ready for a change. When she came across the opportunity to get straight into her chosen field through an apprenticeship, Ailie was delighted. She said: “I wanted to get into the tech industry but entering full-time study to get a qualification was not an option. As a working adult, I had bills to pay. 

“When I came across the apprenticeship at Sky, I jumped at the opportunity. It enabled me to keep working and earn while I learned, getting the experience and qualification I needed at the same time.”  

Alilie Henderson

Different routes to the same destination

Despite changing careers, Ailie now finds herself in the same position as school friends who went straight to university. Having tried the academic route herself, Ailie is convinced her path was the right one for her. She said: “University wasn’t for me. I benefit from direct, hands-on learning which makes an apprenticeship the ideal choice for me.  

“Even with starting again, I am now at a similar stage in my career to friends who went to uni. Their degrees don’t necessarily match the jobs they are in now, and in any case, they had to be trained up by their employers.” 

Options for everyone 

Ailie wasn’t aware just how many different apprenticeship opportunities are available until she started her own. Now she wants every young person to know what options are available to them and is a keen ambassador for apprenticeships, speaking at schools, careers and parents’ events.  

Ailie said: “I was totally overwhelmed when I found out how many different apprenticeships are available, catering to different levels and industries. 

“It’s important to let young people hear different stories, such as mine. There can still be a lot of stigma surrounding apprenticeships which I want to help remove.” 

A real passion 

Ailie is grateful that her apprenticeship also offered her opportunities outside her day job, such as ambassadorial activity, and has connected her with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB). As a SAAB Apprentice Engagement Group member and ambassador, Ailie strives to encourage more females to consider a career in the tech sector through the apprenticeship route.  

Ailie said: “My ambassadorial work lets me build and expand my skillset outside of work, and I find it very rewarding to help people see the value of apprenticeships.  

“We have a real opportunity to use this amazing programme to improve access to fulfilling careers for all young people. I am so glad that as a member of the AEG, I get to be an active part of that.”  

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