24 May 2012
Mr Russell opened nominations at the Scottish Parliament as he
met with Modern Apprentices from training providers SECTT and
Rewards working in sectors ranging from electrical engineering to
the creative industries.
The announcement at the Scottish Parliament was just one of
several events that have taken place across Scotland this week to
raise awareness of the further 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship (MA)
places available to employers and young people this year.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning
"We can be rightly proud of delivering a record-breaking 26,427
Modern Apprenticeships last year and are determined to repeat this
success, by offering opportunities to the same number of young
people for each year of this government.
"Scottish Apprenticeship Week has provided an opportunity to show
employers that they have much to gain from hiring a Modern
Apprentice and it has also been great to hear people's stories for
"Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship Awards celebrate exactly this
type of individual and employer success and there can be no better
advert than the contenders we will hear about in the weeks and
The Awards celebrate the significant contribution Modern
Apprentices, employers and partners have made to the development of
the MA programme and Scotland's economy.
Along with the main award, individual categories include
construction and production apprentice of the year, service
apprentice of the year and adult apprentice of the year.
Last year's top apprentice was 22-year-old Jamie Gray, an
aeronautical engineer with Spirit AeroSystems Ltd, in
Jamie, who is now a qualified quality engineer, was clear about
what winning the Outstanding Achievement Award meant.
He said: "I was a quiet boy from a quiet village but was pushed
to go for my dream job and I got the job and realised my dream. I
would say to anyone to go for what they want, especially if it is
an apprenticeship, to go for it and give it 110%."
Employer awards include categories for businesses with fewer
than 50 workers, for companies with up to 250 and more than 250
employees. There is a partnership award for groups who can show
their commitment to apprentices.
A Best Business Newcomer award will be given to a company - from
any sector - which has shown a commitment to Modern Apprentice
John McClelland, Chair of SDS, said:
"It has never been more important for businesses across Scotland
to grow and develop a skilled workforce. Employers can find out how
they can access support to help them to employ apprentices by
calling our helpline on 0800 783 6000 or going onto our