Monday, 29 February 2021 10:11

Scottish career changers miss out by dismissing apprenticeships

Steve Borland, a Scottish Gas apprentice

Scottish workers could be limiting their options by assuming that apprenticeships are just for school leavers, according to new research released today from Scottish Gas.

The independent national survey by Scottish Gas has revealed that two fifths (44 per cent) of people in Scotland wouldn’t even consider an apprenticeship as a route to beginning a new career. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) believe they are too old.

Only 3 per cent of Scots surveyed thought you could undertake an apprenticeship in your 30s. In fact, almost a third (30 per cent) of current Scottish Gas apprentices are over the age of 30.

Whilst the research highlights out-of-date views as to who can enrol for an apprenticeship, it is clear that people recognise its value. A fifth (19 per cent) of people said that if they had their time again they would definitely do an apprenticeship, whilst a further third (30 per cent) said they would seriously consider it.

Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of those surveyed recognised that an apprenticeship was a great way to start a successful career. The vast majority (83 per cent) appreciated that the main benefit of doing an apprenticeship is learning new skills. More than half (52 per cent) highlighted that the main plus point is learning by doing, rather than from a book.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week starts today (29 February 2021) – five days of events being staged across the country to showcase what modern apprenticeships bring to individuals, businesses and the economy.

As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Scottish Gas is seeking to redefine people’s views of apprenticeships by opening the doors to its Hamilton Academy to give people the chance to find out what a modern apprenticeship really involves.

John Lochrie, former Scottish Gas apprentice and now Operations Director for HomeCare Services at Scottish Gas, commented:

“It’s clear from our research that while many people see the value in apprenticeships, they don’t necessarily realise that the training is suitable for everyone of working age – whether that’s a teenage school leaver, a mum wanting to earn while she learns, or someone looking to retrain for a new career later in life. People in Scotland may be limiting their options and not exploring an apprenticeship as a legitimate career route.

“At Scottish Gas, our apprentices come from all walks of life. Almost a third (30 per cent) are over the age of 30, and many are career-changers.

“I’d encourage people to shake off the old stereotypes and consider undertaking a modern apprenticeship no matter how old they are. We welcome everyone into the programme and are proud to be an inclusive employer.”

Scottish Gas has hundreds of apprentices in Scotland, investing around £30,000 for each apprentice it trains. The business also has a 95 per cent retention rate for apprentices and is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

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