Scotland’s first Enterprise Apprentices and Fife’s future business stars graduated on Tuesday 10 November at the Dean Park Hotel, Kirkcaldy, Fife.
The 17 young Fifers are leading the way as the country’s first Apprentices in Enterprise, who have been working in companies across Fife while studying towards an NVQ in Enterprising skills in a business environment.
Apprenticeships in Enterprise offer young people the chance to develop new products or services, or help an existing business grow, as well as build their enterprise skills and gain a recognised qualification.
The project is being delivered in partnership between Fife Council, Fife secondary schools and businesses, as well as Career Studio (Scotland) Ltd, which is providing trainers/ assessors.
Councillor Lesley Laird, Depute Council Leader and Spokesperson for Economy and Planning, said: “Fife Council is working hard to put the region at the forefront of enterprise and employability. The Apprenticeships in Enterprise programme is a great example of how we’re leading the way nationally and how we are very much working in partnership, not just inside the Council, but also with businesses, training providers and Fife College.
“It is very encouraging to see such a wide range of organisations and companies across Fife embracing fresh talent to help generate new thinking or new ways of working that have real business impacts. This first for Scotland is helping give companies across the Kingdom a boost and drive growth. Whether focusing on the challenges of a new enterprise as an entrepreneur, or driving change within an established organisation, enterprise skills are a must-have in today’s economic climate.
“I also want to extend my thanks to Cllr Tony Martin and Cllr Bryan Poole for making sure that there is a cohesive approach being taken to employability across Education and Employability, as this is the key to getting more of Fife’s young people into meaningful and sustained employment.”
Funded by Fife Council’s Economic Development Team and Fife Youth Job Contract, the apprentices have worked towards NVQ Level 3 in Enterprise Skills whilst employed. Any Fife employer can take on an enterprise apprentice and a range of companies have already participated in the innovative programme. A number of the young apprentices have now moved into full-time posts within the companies that they have been working with.
Pamela Stevenson, Lead Officer Fife Council’s Enterprise and Business Development Economic Development Team, said: “It’s vital for a healthy economy that young people understand the importance of enterprise and are given the support that they need to succeed in their working lives.
“Figures recently released by the Scottish government reveal that the number of businesses operating in Scotland has reached a record high. There were 361,345 private sector businesses operating in March 2015 - the highest number since the figures started to be gathered in 2000. We want to capitalise on this growth in Fife, and our Apprenticeships in Enterprise programme is just one of the ways that we are working to establish a deeper and wider entrepreneurial culture.”
The project is creating new pathways to employment by delivering jobs, whilst giving young people training, coaching and mentoring in the workplace. Training days run by business training provider Tree of Knowledge have encouraged the apprentices to reflect on their own skills and future goals, whether self-employed or as part of an organisation.
During a pilot version of this project in 2013, the first four students in Scotland all gained employment after graduating. This success led to the project being extended, and it is anticipated that the Apprenticeships in Enterprise programme will roll-out across Scotland.
Work is also underway to establish the apprenticeship qualification onto Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship framework, by having the NVQ formally recognised by the SQA.
Organisations taking part in the Apprentices in Enterprise programme include Studio Staff Ltd, Career Studio, Character Education Scotland, Fife College, Fife Cultural Trust, Fife Shopping & Support Services, Florizel Media, Havelock Europa, James Donaldson & Son Ltd, K2 Marketing, Kingdom Credit Union, Opportunities Fife, Ore Valley Housing and Tree of Knowledge.