Employability Minister becomes an Apprentice for the Day
9 May 2018
Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn visited
BSW Timber's Dalbeattie mill to complete the first 'Apprentice for
the Day' challenge.
The Apprentice for the Day challenge is co-ordinated by Skills
Development Scotland (SDS) and was launched by Mr Hepburn as part
of this year's Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
The MSP-backed initiative aims to raise further awareness of the
contribution apprentices make to the Scottish economy.
Across Scotland, MSPs are getting involved by visiting employers
from a range of sectors and working alongside some of the country's
talented apprentices to gain an insight into their experience and
the value they bring to business.
MSPs taking on the challenge will nominate others to
participate, to keep driving the initiative forward.
MSPs from all parties have committed to becoming Apprentices for
the Day and visits are being arranged over the coming months.
Hands on experience
Starting the day with a safety briefing and hard hat in situ, Mr
Hepburn took a tour of BSW's timber manufacturing mill facilities
before spending some time in the engineering saw shop.
Mr Hepburn worked alongside trainee first-year apprentice
Sawdoctor Katie Martin, age 19 from Dumfries, completing a series
of challenges including a technical maintenance shut-down which
allowed him to change the cutting machinery in the mill.
Tony Lockey, BSW group learning and development manager, said:
"We were thrilled to be involved with the Apprentice for the Day
promotional activity with Mr Hepburn.
"Katie is one of the leading lights in our apprentice network.
Her training over the last year was epitomised by how she was able
to instruct Mr Hepburn to help her with some really complex and
vital daily operational tasks. Katie is the only female saw doctor
in the UK and one of only three in Europe.
"BSW is active in promoting STEM opportunities through
apprentice programmes across the UK, giving young people the chance
to come and work at our manufacturing sites."
BSW works closely with local schools, colleges and agencies to
promote apprenticeships through Skills Development Scotland and
Developing the Young Workforce.
Showcasing work-based learning
On completing his challenge at BSW Timber, Mr Hepburn nominated
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science,
Shirley-Anne Sommerville, who is planning to shadow an Apprentice
later this month (May).
Katie Hutton, SDS Director of National Training Programmes,
said: "The Apprentice for the Day challenge showcases how
work-based learning is supporting employers, individuals and the
Scottish economy by producing a pipeline of talent with the skills
"For individuals and employers, there has never been a better
time to get involved in apprenticeships."
Economic value of Apprenticeships
Minister for Employability and Skills Jamie Hepburn said: "I was
delighted to launch the Apprentice for the Day challenge at BSW
Timber. It was great to work alongside first year saw doctor
apprentice Katie Martin, one of only three female saw doctors in
Europe, who put me through my paces.
"Scotland's rural economy benefits greatly from work based
learning and apprenticeship opportunities. The future of industries
such as construction, forestry, agriculture and food and drink are
dependent on having continued access to a skilled workforce to help
drive forward economic growth. Apprenticeships play a vital role in
delivering these ambitions. Not only do they provide young people
with the opportunity to work and earn while achieving an industry
recognised qualification to support their future career ambitions,
they enable employers like BSW Timber to develop their workforce
and contribute to business and economic growth.
"I encourage all those interested in promoting the benefits of
Work Based Learning to get behind the #ApprenticeForTheDay18
challenge and I hope Shirley-Anne Sommerville enjoys her experience
as much as I did."
Source - Skills Development Scotland