Foundation Apprenticeships (FAs) provide a qualification that takes S5 to S6 pupils out of the classroom and into work to gain real hands-on experience directly with employers.
Over one or two years, the youngsters spend a lot of time gaining valuable new skills as well as a qualification – the equivalent of a Higher – which is valued by employers and recognised by all Scottish colleges and universities.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) delivers Foundation Apprenticeships in Creative and Digital media in the Gaelic language, and there are currently seven pupils on the course.
Pupils gain experience of a range of digital disciplines within the creative sector with organisations such as the community newspaper in the Outer Hebrides, Am Pàipear, leading Gaelic culture, heritage and arts organisation Ceolas, and Gaelic media production company MG Alba, which works in partnership with the BBC Alba channel.
The group has learnt from homegrown talent, including Chris Young, the producer of the popular comedy The In-Betweeners, and gained behind-the-scenes experience on the set of the Gaelic drama, Bannan. The apprentices also spoke to local composer Paul Mounsey, who has worked on musical scores for major films including How to Train Your Dragon, Wonder Woman and the Solo film from the Star Wars franchise.
Pupils Niamh MacKinnon and Iona MacCaskill, our two apprentices of the month, are from Portree, and they found out about Foundation Apprenticeships through the school’s Gaelic Department.
Iona said: “What attracted me to the Foundation Apprenticeship was that it was a bridge between high school and university, so provided a good stepping stone for experience and gave me an advantage over loads of competition I have when I apply to university.”
Niamh said: “After I complete my Foundation Apprenticeship I want to go into law and there is a link because the apprenticeship helped me grow in confidence and I’ve gained leadership skills through it. Also, when we are doing activities in class, we’ve done mock interviews, which will help me when I’m applying for university places.
“The Foundation Apprenticeship allowed us to expand the opportunities that we have in our language and gives us an extra advantage that we have studied in both English and Gaelic.”
Murdo MacSween from BBC Alba said: “We’re looking to take on young people who can create video content and edit to make things for young people, as they are the audience and users of social media and know best how to create and tell the stories they want to hear. So, being able to find new talent through Foundation Apprenticeships is fantastic for us.”
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Iain Fionnlagh MacLeoid who manages the Foundation Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship we offer gives young people a chance to get a really solid experience of the workplace in their own community and develops their Gaelic skills while supporting the local economy.
“We are working with a number of local employers in the delivery of the Foundation Apprenticeship and as a large employer ourselves we can offer young people experience in different areas of business so that has been beneficial for helping us tap into young talent.”
For further information about how work-based learning could help you, your staff or your business visit Apprenticeships.Scot. For further information about digital skills and careers, visit Digital World.