MP praises extension of apprentice programme

Colin Clark MP and councillor Gillian Owen with apprentice Callum Turnball at SengS
Colin Clark MP and councillor Gillian Owen with apprentice Callum Turnball at SengS

Gordon MP Colin Clark has praised Aberdeenshire Council for ‘ambitious’ plans to extend the Foundation Apprenticeship programme to more school pupils across the local area.

The Scottish Conservative made the comments following a visit with Cllr Gillian Owen to an employer in his constituency that has taken on the first apprentice through the scheme.

SengS of Ellon part of the Pryme Group, an engineering firm in the Balmcassie Commercial Park, took on Ellon Academy pupil Callum Turnball as a Foundation Apprentice (FA).

The FA is a qualification – over one or two years – that let’s pupils gain work experience within one of Scotland’s 12 growth industries while still attending school.

The apprentices spend one day or two half days a week working with a local employer, learning some of the skills required for a future career.

Mr Clark said: “SengS is a great example of a growing company here in the north-east of Scotland with world-class skills.

“Callum is the company’s first apprentice taken on since Aberdeenshire Council became a Foundation Apprenticeship provider.

“The council recently received £1million from Skills Development Scotland to develop the programme and encourage more young people into work while they are studying.

“Apprentices are in many ways the lifeblood of industry and governments at all levels should be doing all we can to increase vocational training and job opportunities for our young people.

“We are fortunate here in the north-east to have a thriving economy with many good local employers.

“The council’s ambitious plans to get more young people into vocational training should be welcomed.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Ellon & District councillor and chair of education and children services at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “FAs provide a unique opportunity for our young people and I hope other local employers will follow the lead taken by Sengs.”