A huge effort during the pandemic saw almost 500 apprentices successfully placed across Dundee and Angus in the last year.
Developing the Young Workforce Dundee & Angus (DYW) is hoping to build on this success as Scottish Apprenticeship Week takes place this week.
The group aims to connect employers with young people aged between 16 and 25 years old seeking career opportunities.
It also promotes apprenticeships to businesses that could benefit from young talent.
Covid leads to fewer apprenticeships
Hilary Roberts, manager at DYW Dundee & Angus, noted the number of apprenticeships went down nationally last year.
She said: “458 apprentices were successfully placed into businesses across the area during the last challenging 12 months.
“This was while also finding new opportunities for existing apprentices made redundant due to the pandemic.
“Young people have shown a real resilience during these turbulent times.
“The total number of apprentices in training across Scotland is 34,725 compared to 39,240 the previous year.
“While total numbers are down slightly, we are proud that in a global pandemic so many apprentices have still been given and made the most of these opportunities.
“This demonstrates employers see the value in apprentices and young people will help businesses come out the pandemic in a much stronger position.”
GSK recruiting apprentices for four decades
DYW has worked with some of Dundee and Angus’ most influential companies to place apprentices.
The sectors include construction, sport, IT and hospitality.
Montrose-based GlaxoSmithKline has taken on apprentices every year for more than four decades.
Mel Robertson, engineering team manager at GlaxoSmithKline, started as an apprentice with the company in 1986.
He said: “Bringing young talent on board is at the core of our business and we know the value in working with young people.
“In the 40 years that GlaxoSmithKline has been involved in recruiting apprentices, over 150 have been taken on.
“We reap the benefits as employees climb the ranks of promotion.
“It has a hugely positive impact on the business and we’re actively looking at other areas where we can introduce new apprentice roles and increasing the annual number we bring into the business.”
Support is available in many forms, including grants of up to £5,000 readily available and 95% of education costs covered by the Scottish Government.
DYW is currently looking to form partnerships with new businesses.
Pert-Bruce makes apprenticeship commitment
Meanwhile, a survey by Montrose Port of its tenants found there are currently 15 apprentices working with 30 businesses.
In addition, Pert-Bruce, which is leading construction of the operations base for Seagreen offshore wind farm at the port, has committed to 10% of its workforce being apprentices.
One of Pert-Bruce’s apprentices is 19-year-old Katy Davies, whose apprenticeship is in construction and the built environment. She will be supporting the teams on site during the works.
She said: “I’m really happy I chose the apprenticeship path as it gives me exposure to so many areas of the business, all while allowing me to gain vital industry and vocational qualifications.”
Brandon Bryant, commercial director at Pert-Bruce, said: “We are also the founders of Shared Apprentice Ltd, the Angus shared apprenticeship scheme, which has 36 apprentices working across the whole trades spectrum in Angus. We will also utilise them throughout the Seagreen project.”
Captain Tom Hutchison, chief executive of Montrose Port Authority, said: “I’m particularly delighted that SSE has pledged to use local contractors like Pert-Bruce, who in turn are training local apprentices on our site and giving them exposure to new and exciting industries such as renewables and decommissioning.
“My hope is that many of these apprentices go on to start their own business and continue to make the Angus economy thrive.”
Fife Council has also committed to taking on more modern apprentices.