Ronan MacPhee believes the skills he is learning as part of his Foundation Apprenticeship will help him throughout his career.

Ronan, from Benbecula, works at Balivanich Primary School one day per week as part of his Social Services, Children and Young People Foundation Apprenticeship.

The Liniclate School pupil feels the opportunity to gain real workplace experience while gaining a qualification at the same level as a Higher has given him an advantage.

Ronan's achievements are being celebrated along with other apprentices’ as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which is co-ordinated by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) this week.

The theme is Talent without Limits, celebrating the diversity that makes Scottish Apprenticeships good for individuals, employers and the economy.

Ronan said: “I knew the Childcare Foundation Apprenticeship would be great because it gives me a platform to progress on to a Modern Apprenticeship. This allows me to build a strong CV for the future.

“I really enjoy working with the children and teaching them new skills. Recently, I spent time teaching Primary 1 children how to write letters of the alphabet.”

The 16-year-old finds the combination of attending work and school a good mix as he also receives great additional support for his dyslexia. He is keen to let other pupils know about the support that is available to young people who have additional support needs.

He said: “Thanks to my Foundation Apprenticeship I can show the skills I learned and can use throughout my career.

“My parents are happy because they know I like working with children and they’ve seen my confidence grow. I’d love the chance to work at Balivanich during my Modern Apprenticeship because everyone there has been so supportive.”

Balivanich Primary School Head Teacher Anne Graham believes Foundation Apprenticeships are “the perfect platform” for those who wish to progress on to a Modern Apprenticeship.

She said: “We see Foundation Apprenticeships as very worthwhile. A Foundation Apprenticeship as very valuable for young people because they can gain opportunities to develop their skills and experience in the workplace.

“Ronan is a lovely boy. He’s very helpful and uses his own initiative which has seen him slot in well to our school setting.”

SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates said: “Demand from employers continues to drive the development and growth of Scottish Apprenticeships. 

“Scottish Apprenticeships create opportunities for everyone no matter their background and for every business no matter its size or sector.  

“Looking towards a future increasingly disrupted by technological and societal changes, work-based learning has never been more relevant for supporting people into highly productive and sustainable jobs. 

“We are facing ever-growing demand for Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships from employers, demonstrating that work-based learning is crucial to meeting critical skills gaps.” 

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills said: “Apprenticeships are for everyone, regardless of background. Employers miss out by not tapping into as wide a talent pool as possible.

“The Scottish Government is on track to meet our target of 30,000 new apprenticeships starts by 2020/21, pursuing inclusive growth for the wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland’s people.”

Find out more about apprenticeships visit www.apprenticeships.scot.