Glasgow Arts Venue puts Modern Apprentices Centre Stage

An ambitious programme of workplace development has led to over 28 Modern Apprentices learning the ropes at one of Scotland’s leading arts venues, thanks to support from Skills Development Scotland.

The Arches, a multi-arts venue in Glasgow, employs almost 100 members of staff and plays host to a year-round programme of live music, club nights, theatre, corporate events and visual art.

It’s nearly a year since the Arches formalised the training of its staff by signing them up for Modern Apprenticeships in a range of disciplines – from theatre rigging to professional cookery to construction skills.

 Modern Apprenticeships offer people aged over 16 the opportunity of paid employment combined with training at different levels.

They help people gain skills and nationally recognised qualifications without full time study and are available across a wide range of industries.

Skills Development Scotland delivers the Modern Apprenticeship programme on behalf of the Scottish Government and has been working with the Arches to introduce the workplace training regime.

Magali Bourgeois, HR Manager at the Arches said: “The ethos of the Arches has always been to promote young talent and creating a Modern Apprenticeships scheme fits well with this philosophy.

“It’s a very hands-on type of training, so our staff don’t need to take time off to study at college. This means they learn while they work, motivating and allowing them to see the positive impact of learning.  It has also become a recruitment tool for the Arches as well as an attractive benefit for potential employees.

 “We’ve experienced huge benefits since we went down the path of Modern Apprenticeships – our team is demonstrating increased professionalism, their attention to detail has improved, customer satisfaction has increased and they are more adept at time management.

“It has also helped our employees understand just how their roles can develop and demonstrates that what we offer here are proper careers – opportunities to learn and grow within their chosen field.”

The Modern Apprenticeships programme in Scotland is unique. Modern Apprenticeships here offer employees the chance to be supported in training by their employers. The benefits of this system are tangible – the employee is earning while he or she learns and has the security of a job, while employers have a real investment in developing their own workforce and attracting better candidates thanks to having a structured training programme in place.

Skills Development Scotland Creative Industries Manager Alasdair Smith said: “The Arches takes training very seriously and has shown a real commitment to placing Modern Apprenticeships at the core of its business.

“As an organisation employing close to 100 people, it is heartening to see the Arches having up to a quarter of its staff undertaking an MA at the same time.

“Scotland has a thriving creative sector and organisations like the Arches are offering a viable way into a career in this industry.”

Despite the challenging economic climate, SDS was able to meet and exceed its targets for delivering Modern Apprenticeships last year. The organisation successfully increased the number of new Modern Apprenticeships in 2009/10 to over 20,000, against a target of 18,500, meaning Scotland has over 34,000 apprentices in training.

The Scottish Government has prioritised skills investment and training commitments for 2010-11, including 15,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts, 14,500 training places to support the unemployed, an additional 5,000 all age MAs and 5,000 new flexible opportunities to support businesses.

Skills Development Scotland is currently delivering the 'Step Forward Scotland' campaign which is helping businesses support people aged 16-19 by offering the opportunity of a job, Modern Apprenticeship or work experience placement.

The initiative includes a new employer helpline – 0800 783 6000 – to support those employers helping launch a young person's career.

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About Skills Development Scotland:

Skills Development Scotland is Scotland’s skills body, formed by a merger of Careers Scotland, Scottish University for Industry, as well as key skills elements from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Skills Development Scotland operates 55 public access centres across Scotland

The organisation’s key programmes include Training for Work, Get Ready for Work, ILA (Individual Learning Accounts) Scotland and the Big Plus as well as Modern Apprentices, including ScotAction, and PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) the Scottish Government’s national redundancy support service.

Website: http://www.