Employment training service supports young people in Angus

Shaun Conway
Shaun Conway

Barnardo’s Scotland’s employment training service is using Scottish Apprenticeship Week (march 6 to 10) to celebrate the benefits of modern apprenticeships.

During Scottish Apprenticeship Week the charity’s employment training service, Barnardo’s Works North East and Tayside, is celebrating the benefits Modern Apprenticeships bring to young people, businesses and the local economy. The charity is also celebrating their partnership in Angus, which has opened up work opportunities for a young person in the local area.

A former Kirriemuir schooboy has benefitted from the service. Shaun Conway, 17, attended Webster’s High until May 2016. Although he didn’t really enjoy school, he still achieved a range of National 4 and 5 qualifications; he also attended an extended work experience placement with a local joinery company. This experience helped him to decide that he wanted to become a joiner, however, he felt that his confidence and lack of experience was holding him back.

At this point Shaun’s Careers Adviser at Skills Development Scotland referred Shaun to the Barnardo’s Work programme in Angus. After joining Barnardo’s Works Shaun started working towards an SCQF Level 4 Certificate of Work Readiness Award, he was also supported to study towards and has since pass his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Health, Safety and Environment test.

After attending his induction and passing his CSC test, Shaun was matched to a work placement with Andrew Shepherd Construction in Forfar, working alongside the joiners. Shaun performed extremely well during his work placement and his mentor, George Brown, recommended him to be considered for a Modern Apprenticeship in Joinery with the construction company. Shaun attended an interview with the company and was offered an apprenticeship.

He said: “After leaving school I started a course with Barnardo’s Works, during which I undertook numerous paperwork and team work tasks, created my personal folio and sat the test to get my CSCS card in order of using within future employment.

“Twelve weeks before the end of my placement with Barnardo’s Works, I was put on a 12 week trial working with Andrew Shepard’s Construction which has resulted in a 4 year modern apprenticeship within the Joinery industry. I would encourage people to consider using Barnardo’s Works as it’s a really good opportunity and stepping stone to gain real life work experience in a working environment, and it gives you the chance to gain possible extra qualifications/necessities for later working life.”

Barnardo’s Works Support Worker, Lesley Bollan, added: “From day one, Shaun proved his commitment and reliability, he was initially travelling to Arbroath during his first week before Barnardo’s Works started running a group at Fairlie House in Kirriemuir.

“Living in rural Angus, coupled with lack of experience, can prove difficult for young people when applying for training and work opportunities, but it was clear from Shaun’s first meeting with Barnardo’s Works that he was motivated and ready to work.”

After joining Barnardo’s Works Shaun started working towards an SCQF Level 4 Certificate of Work Readiness Award, he was also supported to study towards and has since pass his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Health, Safety and Environment test.

Lesley continued: “The Certificate of Work Readiness is aimed at young people who are ready for their first experience of work, but need some support, and with a “can do” attitude, which is something Shaun had in spade loads. The certificate includes a minimum of 190 hours work experience and the chance to develop skills with a training provider such as ours, Barnardo’s Works.”

Andrew Shepherd Construction, mentor, George Brown, said: “The work placement was a success because Shaun went through the selection process with Barnardo’s Works and completed their programme before starting with us. It was obvious from the outset that Shaun was more than suitable, and after his initial work experience term we were very happy to offer him a Joinery Apprenticeship.”

Tommy McDade, Barnardo’s Scotland, Assistant Director for Employment and Skills, said: “This is another excellent example of a young person who wanted to work but needed support to access the right opportunity.

“We very much appreciate all of the partnerships we have with employers in the local area. We hope Scottish Apprenticeship Week will raise awareness of how the Modern Apprenticeship programme could benefit young people and employers, in particular young people who wouldn’t normally have a chance of an apprenticeship.

“Through partnering with Barnardo’s Works we can help local and national employers with support to employ young people as apprentices through matching their needs with young people looking to move on to an apprenticeship.”

Barnardo’s Works North East and Tayside supports young people in Angus through Modern Apprenticeships across a wide range of industries and local employers like Andrew Shepherd Construction are vital to the success of the programme.