Scottish Minister hails importance of Modern Apprenticeships at BT and Skills Development Scotland event
Scotland’s Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, met computing science pupils from St Kentigern’s Academy, Blackburn, and Armadale Academy at BT’s Edinburgh headquarters for a special Scottish Apprenticeship Week event.
Pupils from the two West Lothian schools were invited to meet the Minister and BT employees to hear about the wide variety of apprenticeships available with the communications company in Scotland as well as trying their hand at cyber security challenges.
Students heard from BT cyber security apprentice, Leah Robertson, who shared her experiences since embarking on her Modern Apprenticeship (MA).
The event was hosted by BT and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and intended to highlight the exciting apprenticeship opportunities available within Scotland’s growing cyber security sector.
Following the presentations, the S3 pupils were challenged to take part in a number of hands-on, cyber security activities using skills such as encryption and digital forensics.
Pupils had the chance to discuss their interest in computing science and their reasons for considering a career in tech with Ms Somerville. BT’s apprentices were also able to share their experiences on the scheme.
The Scottish Government Minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “Modern Apprenticeships are an important support for people who are looking to access rewarding careers and high quality jobs.
“I am delighted to visit BT today to hear about the variety of apprenticeship opportunities available within the organisation, and to meet pupils from St Kentigern’s Academy and Armadale Academy.
“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting 30,000 new MA opportunities annually. Apprenticeships promote economic development, reduce unemployment and match skills to the current and future needs of the labour market.”
BT, which last week announced plans to create 145 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs in Scotland, focused on cyber security to showcase the more unusual apprenticeship opportunities on offer at the company.
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Apprentices are at the heart of BT’s business, bringing fresh ideas and talent into our teams. BT employs one in seven employees working in Scotland’s IT and communications industries and cyber security is a growing part of our business, with around 2,500 employed around the world. We support public sector and businesses of all sizes with the evolving threats posed to data and networks.
“From engineering to cyber security and customer service roles, apprenticeships are a fantastic way to combine qualifications with on-the-job learning. Today is a great opportunity for us to showcase how rewarding they can be.”
Claire Gillespie, key sector manager for ICT and digital skills at Skills Development Scotland, said: “BT is well known for its support of apprenticeship initiatives so we were delighted to be able to partner with them for this event.
“Today there are many apprenticeship opportunities in computing and digital technology and more than 37,000 young people working, learning and earning as Modern Apprentices across the economy in Scotland. This event, and indeed the whole of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, is about showing young people the abundance of apprenticeship opportunities out there that can help them to kick-start their career.”
Leah Robertson, 21, BT cyber security apprentice, said: “Since I joined BT in 2015 I’ve learnt so much and continue to develop in my career. I started an accountancy course at university, but it just was not for me. I much prefer to learn in the workplace combined with regular trips to university. I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anyone, the support and opportunities I’ve had in BT have been fantastic.”
Scottish Apprenticeship Week is an annual campaign to showcase how apprenticeships work for businesses, individuals and the economy.
The campaign – from 6 to 10 March – is a nationwide celebration aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices. The theme for 2017 is ‘Apprenticeships are Changing’.