Scottish Apprenticeship Week is the nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices.
Organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the campaign theme for 2018 is ‘Apprenticeships are the Business’.
And, for local teenager Josh Hampson, he’s determined to make the most of any opportunity that comes along.
Fifteen-year-old Josh is going above and beyond to achieve his goal of becoming an engineer through a Foundation Apprenticeship – and an epic 40-mile journey over land and sea each week to attend class!
Foundation Apprenticeships are open to pupils in the senior phase of secondary school and combine college classes with a work placement. They usually take two years to complete and pupils get a qualification at the same level as a Higher at the end.
Rothesay Academy pupil Josh explained: “Our head teacher, Mr Wilson, had run the Foundation Apprenticeship when he was deputy head at Dunoon Grammar. So, when he got the job at Rothesay, he decided to introduce it. To me, it sounded like a great opportunity, so I signed up.”
The Foundation Apprenticeship requires a bit more commitment than your average school subject for Josh and his four fellow Rothesay Academy engineering apprentices. The group journey for almost two hours each way on a weekly basis to attend classes for the Foundation Apprenticeship at Argyll College UHI in Lochgilphead.
“We get a public bus to the boat, which is about a 15-minute journey,” Josh explained. “We then take a boat trip, which takes us to Colintraive, where we’re picked up by mini van. Then we drive for about an hour and a half to get to the college. It’s a long journey, but it’s worth it!”
On the Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship, Josh gets a split of classroom-based learning and practical work in the college workshop. The Foundation Apprentices will go out on placement with a local employer as part of the course, giving them a chance to use the skills they’ve learned in college.
It’s a completely different style of learning for the fourth-year pupil, but he says it’s been good for him.