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Microsoft backs Apprenticeship Ambassadors

13 March 2014

  • SDS press release

Global technology giants Microsoft have backed a campaign to get more young people into apprenticeships in Scotland.

Three young digital professionals whose training was supported by Microsoft have joined Skills Development Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship Ambassadors Programme.

The announcement was made by Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance as part of Make Young People Your Business digital week.

Microsoft has pledged to work with partners, customers and other employers to recruit 2016 Modern Apprentices by 2016.

Microsoft Scotland Director Chris Forrest said: ''Microsoft's partners and customers have already helped hundreds of young Scots to gain employment through Modern Apprenticeships and we are in the process of recruiting apprentices across many business divisions. 

"We view apprenticeships as a critical component of the search for talent and skills.

"Microsoft is committed to supporting Modern Apprentices and the many businesses that back, train and develop their talent."

Ms Constance joined pupils from Ross High in Tranent during a visit to Microsoft's Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh where they met information and computer technologies apprentices.

Ms Constance said: "Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment, said:

"Throughout Make Young People Your Business digital skills week, my consistent message to employers has been that recruiting young women and men and growing your own talent is not just the right thing for employers to do, it's the smart thing to do.

"The value of investing in young employees is backed up by employer surveys which show that, when companies are asked why they recruit young people, the top two reasons are growing our own workforce and to build up a talent pipeline.

"In Scotland's £3 billion digital technologies sector, young employees are also arguably more closely attuned to the target marketing age group for many of the products and services.

"By signing up to the Modern Apprenticeship Ambassadors Programme, it is clear that Microsoft recognise this.

"Their endorsement of the value that Modern Apprentices bring to the workplace sets a fantastic example for other businesses in Scotland to follow."

The Modern Apprenticeship Ambassadors programme is run by Skills Development Scotland to promote the benefits apprenticeships bring for young people and employers.

Apprentices Ryan Waddell, 18; Ailsa Quinn, 19 and Alan McMath, 20, are the latest recruits to the Ambassador programme.

Alan is a Modern Apprentice with NVT Group, working as an Official Technology Services Integrator for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, while Ryan provides information technology support at Deans Community High School in Livingston.

Ailsa completed her training with multinational IT services corporation, Atos, in September 2013. 

She has now accepted a full time post at the company's Livingston base, where she works on their NHS Scotland Service Desk.

She said: "Having experience of the workplace is really important when you're looking for a job, plus I've also got a qualification that impresses employers."

"It was the right thing for me to do, and there are lots more people out there who would get a boost from doing a Modern Apprenticeship."

SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates said: "Modern Apprentices are good for young people, good for businesses and good for the economy.

"These digital and ICT apprentices have invested in their future by gaining vital skills and national qualifications.

"We look forward to working with them to share the benefits of Modern Apprenticeships with young people, schools, parents and other businesses."

Make Young People Your Business digital week focuses on promoting the digital technologies sector as a career option to a younger audience while celebrating Scottish successes in the industry.

During the visit to Microsoft's offices in Edinburgh pupils were given an insight into the future of digital technology and showed off their own skills during a CoderDojo.

They were joined by Ms Constance during the coding session, which aims to introduce young people to programming.

The Modern Apprenticeship Ambassador recruits led the coding session and told pupils about their careers during a question and answer session chaired by Ms Constance.

Pupils were also given a tour of the Microsoft offices and took part in hands-on demonstrations of some of the latest technology.

Members of the schools digital leadership group, the students share their technology skills with fellow pupils, staff and other schools.