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New Year - New Learning Opportunities

27th December 2012

Thousands of pupils will leave secondary school this winter with many taking their first steps into employment through Opportunities for All placements.

All 16 to 19-year-olds are guaranteed a place in education or training through Opportunities for All. To find out more they can call the dedicated information line on 0845 850202.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:My message to young people leaving school this winter is that Opportunities for All guarantees you a place in education or training. To find out about what opportunities are available, you can call 0845 850202.

Rachel Donnelly (19), from Dumfries, joined surveyors GM Thomson and Co. after leaving Dumfries High School last December. She has completed her Level 2 Business Administration modern apprenticeship and has begun her Level 3 qualification.

Rachel said:When I left school I knew that I wanted to go into work rather than university but hadnt decided what type of job I was best suited to.

Initially I contacted Minerva People Ltd. agency to find out more about modern apprenticeships and they helped me prepare for interviews and went through the type of questions I would likely be asked.

Going to the interviews and starting work was daunting at first because I had never worked in a office before but if have any questions I know that I can ask Katherine, my adviser at Minerva, or my line manager Alison.

Coming to GM Thomson and working on my modern apprenticeship has been really enjoyable and I am looking forward to gaining more skills and completing my level 3.

Alison Laurie, head secretary at GM Thomson, said:Taking on modern apprentices is an excellent way for us to constantly review and update our own training policies and procedures because of the support given by the Assessors.

It gives apprentices like Rachel additional support that really helps build confidence in their abilities as well as developing their skills. Since joining us in December 2011 Rachel has already completed her level 2 qualification and begun her level 3 giving her an excellent foundation to start her career.

Jessica Jones (18), also from Dumfries, joined the Charlotte Street Surgery after leaving school and will complete her Level 2 Business Administration modern apprenticeship in January.

The former St Josephs College pupil said: In my sixth year at secondary school I was very unsure of what I wanted to do when I had finished my exams. I didnt want to go to college or university to study and was finding it very difficult to find a full time job.

A friend recommended Minerva, one of the main training providers for modern apprentices within Dumfries. They helped me with my CV, found potential placements best suited to the type of qualification I wanted to do, and arranged an interviews.

I have now been in my placement at Charlotte Medical Practice for eleven months and have gained confidence and have learned a lot through doing my qualification on the job rather than having to study and sit exams.

My apprenticeship will give me a new qualification to put on my CV as well as experience in the work place and new skills, which will benefit me when applying for further employment. My aspirations after achieving my qualification are to progress onto the level three business and administration qualification and hopefully retain full time employment at Charlotte Medical Practice. I would recommend modern apprenticeships to anyone leaving school or looking to gain qualifications whilst working.

Ms Constance added:Everyone calling the information line will receive expert guidance on what places are available in their area. Jessica and Rachels progress are wonderful examples of how successful the modern apprenticeship placements are and shows how they deliver great benefits to both employer and apprentice.

It is encouraging that the majority of school leavers over the last Christmas period found work, training or further education places but this year we want 100 per cent of young people leaving school to know there is a place in education or training available to them.

Launched in September, the Opportunities for All information line is manned by Skills Development Scotland staff. It will operate reduced hours over Christmas and New Year but experts will be on hand to support young people or their parents looking at finding training placements.

Katherine Crowe of Minerva People Ltd, a training provider and recruitment agency, acted as Assessor for both Jessica and Rachel. She said:The majority of candidates I and my colleagues have worked with are retained in their roles and grow within the company; those that dont often move on to other employment opportunities because they have been given the tools and techniques they needed in the workplace to truly develop and be fully employable.

During the period of their qualification they are supported, nurtured, motivated and given the responsibility to show a real commitment to their workplace, to us as the training provider and also to themselves as many dont realise their full potential until they undertake real workplace training that is valued and needed.

I know the feedback Minerva has received is very much that modern apprenticeships are about more than just training. Through working one-to-one with their Assessor and getting support from their employer the candidate gains in confidence and becomes more aspirational because of the increased responsibility and personal development they undertake.


All 16 to 19-year-olds can find out about education and training places in their area by calling the Opportunities for All information line on 0845 850202. The operating hours over the Christmas period are:

December 22-23 1000-1800 hours

December 24 0800-1600 hours

December 25-26 Closed

December 27-28 0800-2000 hours

December 29-30 1000-1800 hours

December 31 0800-1600 hours

January 1-2 Closed

January 3-4 0800-2000 hours

January 5-6 1000-1800 hours

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