Testimonials

Why do companies take on young apprentices?

We asked a few questions to find out more:

SCALLOWAY MOTORS with Alex Sharp

Q:
When did your company take on its first apprentice or skillseeker?
A: June 2002 and again in August 2006

Q: What have you found to be the benefits to your business?
A: Teaching them your own way of working - and not having to correct bad habits.  Ultimately, it increases turnover and profitability for this company.

Q: From your experience, what have been the key 'challenges' in training and supporting school leavers in their first four years in the workplace?
A: Supporting their progress towards maturity - allowing time for their development; both personal and in terms of the work output and level of complexity.

Q: What are the key qualities you look for when you are selecting a new trainee?
A: Enthusiasm for the trade, an ability to listen and learn, and honesty are paramount.  Also respect for customers' property and workplace tools and equipment.  People skills are needed, both with customers and workmates.

Q: For any small business that may be considering taking on an apprentice for the first time, what advice would you pass on?
A: Give the candidate a trial period (two to three months).  Be honest and straightforward with them as to what the job involves.

OCEAN KINETICS with John Henderson

Q:
When did your company take on its first apprentice?
A: In 1999 and we currently have five apprentices.

Q: What have you found to be the benefits to your business?
A: It is important to maintain the skill levels in our workforce.  Limited skilled labour in Shetland has made it more important to train.  Also, we can train the apprentices specifically to meet our requirements.

Q: From your experience, what have been the key 'challenges' in training and supporting school leavers in their first four years in the workplace?
A: Freeing up the time to train the apprentices is the main challenge.

Q: What are the key qualities you look for when you are selecting a new trainee?
A: The ability to listen to our tradesmen.  An eagerness to learn, common sense and practical ability.  Also, a mature attitude is very desirable.

Q: For any small business that may be considering taking on an apprentice for the first time, what advice would you pass on?
A: The first phase of the training can be time consuming and expensive.  Overall though, the effort and time spent is worth it.

SCOTTISH & SOUTHERN with Darren Hitchin

Q: When did your company take on its first apprentice or skillseeker?
A: 2007 and we currently have two apprentices.

Q: What have you found to be the benefits to your business?
A: Development of skills.  Training the apprentices to eventually replace our current workforce as they head towards retirement.  In-house training builds up a workforce that can work to our standards and methods.

Q: From your experience, what have been the key 'challenges' in training and supporting school leavers in their first four years in the workplace?
A: Our apprentices have been very good and have presented no challenges.  This is because our recruitment process is fairly rigorous and our apprentices are treated well.  They are given appropriate in-house training.

Q: What are the key qualities you look for when you are selecting a new trainee?
A: Good character, conscientious, not 'too' confident and someone with a little hands-on experience.  It's also essential that the candidate is enthusiastic about the type of work.

Q: For any small business that may be considering taking on an apprentice for the first time, what advice would you pass on?
A: Look at the applicant's hobbies, general appearance and attitude at interview.  Consider a trial period prior to commitment of either party.  Ensure your current workforce is willing and able to instruct in practical skills.

SHETLAND JEWELLERY with Kenneth Rae

Q: When did your company take on its first apprentice or skillseeker?
A: Our first trainees started in 2002.

Q: How many apprentices/trainees do you currently employ?
A: Sophie has finished her training now and Yvette has finished Level 2 and is about to progress to Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship.  They are trained by our workplace supervisor and also assessed by a lecturer from Orkney College, who visits us every four to five months.  She is very experienced and enthusiastic and helps to keep it all going to plan.

Q: What have you found to be the benefits to your business?
A: There are lots of benefits in seeing people get skills and qualifications.  It is satisfying for the employer, as well as the individual.  It also makes the job more interesting for the employee as they are challenged and have to think of other ways of doing things.  This can benefit the company too.  For example, when our trainee did research on techniques with enamelling, it became a piece of work for the factory too and led to increased business.

Q: For any small business that may be considering taking on an apprentice for the first time, what advice would you pass on?
A: You have to be prepared to give them the time to study as well as work to deadlines.  They can't be working five days per week continuously without getting the time to do their formal study and go on courses to improve their knowledge and skills.  A trial period is very worthwhile and if you do get the right person, it can be a huge benefit to your business in later years.

 
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