Case Studies

Read on to find out more about Modern Apprenticeships and the benefits to you – as a potential applicant.

Julie Keith - MA Hairdressing

Julie Keith started her Modern Apprenticeship in Hairdressing at Sharp Image in Scalloway in 2005.  She attended Elmwood College in Fife on block release for the theory part of her qualification.  The rest of her time was spent in the salon carrying out day-to-day duties and gaining experience on the practical side.

Q: Why did you choose do do this training?
A: From a young age, it was always something I have been interested in.

Q: What have you enjoyed the most?
A Working in a good salon and being part of a team who work closely together.  I like meeting clients and I enjoy learning new skills and new ideas.  I have enjoyed my training at college too.  I studied in Thurso for Level 2 and then Cupar in Fife for Level 3.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A To continue learning and developing my hairdressing skills at Sharp Image.

Q: For anyone who may be considering applying for the same programme, what advice would you pass on?
A: Hairdressing can be challenging at times, but overall I've found it to be a really enjoyable training programme and a rewarding one!

Pamela Williamson - MA in Veterinary Nursing

Pamela Williamson started at the Westside Veterinary Surgery on work experience from school.  From here she started a Modern Apprenticeship programme in 2005.  She completed two years' study at Edinburgh's Telford College on block release to gain her Level 2, then a further year to gain her Level 3.

Q: Why did you choose to do this training?
A: I was brought up on a farm and have always had an interest in animals.  At school I enjoyed biology and decided I would like to pursue a medical-related job.  I chose to do work experience at a veterinary practice.  After this I was sure that this was the job for me.

Q: What have you enjoyed the most?
A: The variety of work that I have been able to take part in.  Hands-on work is the best way to learn in a job like this.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: To carry on nursing as I enjoy my job.

Q: For anyone who may be considering applying for the same programme, what advice would you pass on?
A: Do as much work experience as you can and find out what is involved with the training.  The portfolios are interesting and a good way of learning everything during your training - but it is a lot of hard work!  Higher biology is essential.

Andrew Hunter - HNC Architectural Technician

Andrew started work at Redman & Sutherland Architects in 2005.  His daily work includes assisting the architects with computer aided design, surveying buildings and sites, meeting with customers and working with the Planning Department and Building Control.  Andrew has just completed two Higher National Certificates in Architectural Technology and Construction Management.  He did this over a period of two and a half years by attending video conference twice a week at Shetland College.

Q: Why did you choose to do this training?
A: It allowed me to gain a qualification in an architectural subject without having to leave Shetland and end up with university debts.

Q: What have you enjoyed the most?
A: Being able to work in an architect's practice and gain real experience at the same time as studying.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I hope to work towards becoming a chartered architectural technician.

Q: For anyone who may be considering applying for the same programme, what advice would you pass on?
A: You have to be prepared to be self motivated, because much of the work is self stduy and it's very easy to fall behind.

Michael Balmain - MA Amenity Horticulture

In 2008, Michael Balmain was awarded ‘Shetland Modern Apprentice of the Year’.  Later that year he also received the ‘Award for Endeavour’ from Lantra – the Sector Skills Council for environmental and land-based industries.  This was in recognition of outstanding commitment to training and development.

Michael started work at Shetland Amenity Trust in September 2004 as a Modern Apprentice in Amenity Horticulture.  He works with the Woodlands team where his duties include: planting and maintaining wooded areas; seed collection; working with mature trees; pruning and felling.  He also undertook nursery duties such as sowing seeds, potting on and working with seedlings.  He also maintains community gardens throughout Shetland and also works with primary schools on tree planting and gardening.

As part of his apprenticeship, Michael attended Elmwood College in Cupar on block release, where he completed his Level 3 and Modern Apprenticeship.  Michael is now one of the few employees qualified to climb trees and work with chain saws.

I thoroughly recommend apprenticeships – it’s getting paid to learn.  I love my job and I have a first hand role in helping the environment.  It is excellent.  It’s been a fantastic four years, an ideal opportunity to learn a trade and get qualifications at the same time.”

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