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Two employees in Benbecula have given the thumbs up to the Modern Apprenticeship (MA) scheme that helped them secure permanent positions.

Francesca Scott (31) and Grace Henderson (18) recently completed their MA SVQ qualifications with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) before getting permanent financial administrator roles at the organisation's Lionacleit offices. 

Grace, who started her MA in July 2022, said an apprenticeship was a genuine alternative to undertaking higher education at college.

“I would definitely recommend to people that they think about a Modern Apprenticeship if they’re looking to start or even change career. I didn’t know a lot about it at first but approached it with an open mind and found it to be a great alternative to the university or college route, which would have meant leaving home. The learning has been very hands on and practical, with lots of support.”

Modern apprenticeships enable people to work, earn and learn as a paid employee over a period of 18 months. This allows the apprentice to gain work experience as they achieve an industry recognised qualification.

Stepanka Nicol, recruitment and resourcing manager with HIE’s HR team, said the organisation had greatly benefitted from taking part in the apprenticeship programme.

“As an organisation we are committed to developing the young workforce as part of our workforce plan and have recently appointed a cohort of graduates and modern apprentices," she said.

"Our MA and graduate programme is a great way to attract fresh talent and to enable more young people to remain in the region. Now that Grace, Francesca and Kata (in the HIE Inverness office) have all successfully completed their SVQ training we are delighted we have been able to make their posts permanent with us."  

More information on the Modern Apprenticeship programme is available on the Skills Development Scotland website.