Enormous reward for both parties

North East Scotland College (NESCol) is delighted to support the Apprentice 100 initiative and to promote the benefits of this work-based training programme – for both employers and apprentices.

At NESCol, we have one of the largest Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programmes in Scotland with almost 500 apprentices working across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

One of our main aims as a college is to provide accessible training that leads to positive outcomes for our students, and the MA programme meets that purpose. It allows individuals aged 16 and over the opportunity to secure industry-recognised qualifications whilst getting paid and provides a way for businesses to train employees to industry-recognised standards.

A Modern Apprenticeship is a journey – one which has significant rewards for the apprentices, businesses and in turn for the Scottish economy.

North East College

This programme offers an alternative to the traditional route of full-time study. It enables apprentices to develop and gain skills, qualifications and improve job prospects whilst working. It is a different type of qualification to any other due to the mix of academic and vocational elements. What is learnt can be applied directly in the workplace – this is a big plus for students who prefer practical hands-on learning and for employers too.

The MA award demonstrates to employers that not only has the apprentice achieved all the academic elements of his/her programme, but that he or she is workplace competent too.

Rachael Buchan is employed by Equalizer International and is undertaking an engineering MA in Mechanical Manufacturing.

After leaving school, Rachael enrolled on the full-time Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) Mechanical Engineering Level 2 course at college. Here, Rachael became aware of the Modern Apprenticeship programme as an alternative route to enter the engineering sector – one which would enable her to continue with her studies whilst working and earning a salary.

Rachael says: “I would recommend Modern Apprenticeships. I think there is a lot to be said for getting practical work experience as early as possible. Employers seem to want this. I find it really helpful to put what I learn in college into practice at work. I can see what works, what doesn’t and how to adapt to get the best result.”

The Scottish Government meets the cost of Modern Apprenticeship college-based training via Skills Development Scotland (SDS), so there’s no cost to the trainee or the company when it comes to developing an apprentice’s skills at college.

North East College 2

The funding provided covers the direct cost of college course fees, whilst the employer pays the salary of the trainee, who is employed full–time. This ensures everyone benefits by enhancing key skills, thus improving an apprentice’s productivity and confidence in the workplace.

Modern Apprenticeships are designed by industry for industry. The qualifications that are gained on completing an MA meet the standards and requirements sought by employers. Apprenticeships come in all shapes and sizes, and typically last from two to four years, depending on the type of apprenticeship and the ability of the apprentice.

An apprenticeship consists of three elements: vocational-related qualifications and experience; core skills – the essential everyday “soft” skills required in the workplace, and industry-specific training, tailored to your chosen sector.

As a leading training provider in this area, NESCol works closely with both the employer and apprentice to agree and deliver a training programme that is suitable and relevant to the job that the apprentice holds. This typically involves a blend of college attendance (day or block release), on the job training and continuous assessment. As the apprenticeship progresses, the time spent at college reduces and the training becomes solely work based with college assessors going out to the workplace.

Students at North East College


At NESCol, we offer apprenticeship training programmes within the automotive sector, across the main engineering disciplines (electrical/electronic, fabrication and welding, maintenance, manufacturing, mechanical and marine) and within the hairdressing industry. In the near future, we hope to be working with maritime apprentices and employers.

We also run MA courses for the construction, electrical and plumbing industry and work with the specialist organisations that are responsible for apprenticeships within this area – the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the Scottish Electrical Charitable training Trust (SECTT) and the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF).

An apprenticeship is an investment – both for the apprentice and the employer. The rewards are enormous on both sides. As the apprentice skills develop and strengthen, this helps businesses build a stronger, more confident workforce with many apprentices progressing upward within the organisation.

Each year, we hold an awards ceremony – pictured above – to recognise the achievement and celebrate the success of all those who have successfully completed their apprenticeships. Employers, lecturers, friends and family come together to applaud the journey that the apprentice has undertaken.

If you would like to find out more about the Modern Apprenticeship programmes on offer at NESCol, visit our website www.nescol.ac.uk/ apprenticeships-and-businessAlternatively, if you wish to talk through the options available today for your organisation, contact the MA Team on 01346 586110 or e-mail MATeam@nescol.ac.uk

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