The purpose of the Apprentice Engagement Group (AEG) is to promote the value of apprenticeships and to champion the contribution they can make to individuals, employers and the economy in Scotland, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of young people and employers to get involved in apprenticeships.   

The AEG is made up of current apprentices, recent completers, and previous Scottish Apprenticeship Awards winners. The members act as ambassadors for apprenticeships who communicate the benefits and promote the expansion of Foundation, Modern and Graduate apprenticeships to individuals, employers, parents and other stakeholders. 

  • Communicate the value of work-based learning through the groups and engagement events, such as Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Scotland’s Apprentice Convention and Apprenticeship Awards.   
  • Working with SAAB/ SDS to help develop effective, streamlined and simple approaches to apprentice and key stakeholder engagement that increasingly uses digital services where appropriate  
  • Working with the SAAB to harness the power and influence of SAAB members to drive growth in high-quality apprenticeship numbers   
  • Supporting work towards an increase in higher and degree apprenticeships, BME applicants, and other routes to ensure that apprenticeships are viewed as an attractive option to learners, parents and employers  
  • Gather intelligence and feedback on challenges young people may experience on uptake of an apprenticeship

Apprentice Engagement Group Membership

The AEG is chaired by Ciaran PughSenior Threat Intelligence Analyst at NatWest Group, and Mark Gullan, Assistant Asset Planner at Scottish Water. 

Mark Gullan, Assistant Asset Planner at Scottish Water

Mark Gullan joined Scottish Water in 2015 as a Modern Apprentice in Asset Management. After the successful completion of his apprenticeship and qualifications in Water Operations & Civil Engineering and Construction, Contracting & Operations, he was promoted to Assistant Asset Planner covering the Clyde, Forth Valley and East Ayrshire regions.

Mark is passionate about the benefits of apprenticeships for young people, having himself turned down an unconditional offer to study electrical engineering at university to pursue his apprenticeship. He has recently taken on the Co-Chair role of the AEG and is excited about the opportunities for work-based learning in the economic recovery.

Mark is a former actor and a keen sports enthusiast. He coaches football team Cowie Colts with which he hopes to produce the next Scotland superstar.

Ciaran Pugh, Senior Threat Intelligence Analyst at NatWest Group

Ciaran Pugh has been with Natwest Group, formally Royal Bank of Scotland, since 2016. Starting out as a Threat Intelligence Analyst Modern Apprentice aged 16, he focussed on MI relating to physical crime threats towards the bank. Five years on, Ciaran is now a Senior Threat Intelligence Analyst responsible for threat intelligence relating to physical crime, country security and terrorism, protest, and travel security for around 80k staff.

Ciaran wants to inspire other young people to follow in his footsteps and will use his recent appointment as AEG Co-Chair to promote apprenticeships and share successful apprenticeship stories such as his own.

Football is Ciaran’s passion outside of work. He is Head of North Merchiston Football Club where he is responsible for over 280 kids and manages a team of over 40 coaches. Ciaran is also excited to be currently working towards achieving a UEFA coaching license.

List of Apprentice Engagement Group's members

Name Role Organisation
Ciaran Pugh (Co-chair) Senior Threat Intelligence Analyst NatWest Group
Mark Gullan (Co-chair) Assistant Asset Planner Scottish Water
Ailie Henderson Technology Apprentice Sky
Anna McCormick SCQF Level 6 – Digital Marketing Microsoft 
David Scott IT Software Development Aviva
Johnny Monteith Deployment and Validation Graduate Apprentice Balfour Beatty
Jordan Fairlamb Commercial Apprentice McAlpine Plumbing Products
Josh Millan Business and Administration Apprentice SQA
Kiya McAuley Customer Service Apprentice Scotrail
Megan Harper Software Developer JP Morgan Chase
Melissa Jeffrey Personal Secretary Scottish Government
Patrycja Wegrzyn Tech Apprentice JP Morgan Chase
Ross Pringle Design Engineering Graduate Apprentice Leonardo
Sonja Jillich Software Developer JP Morgan Chase












Agency leads

  • Sharon McIntyre, Head of CIAG Operations, Skills Development Scotland
  • Fiona Burns, Assistant Director: Access and Student Experience, Scottish Funding Council

Meeting Dates 2021/22


  • 16 December 2021
  • 25 January 2022
  • 15 February 2022

Apprentice Engagement Group Terms of Reference

View full Terms of Reference.



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