A talented Glaswegian Graduate Apprentice has bagged the title of Scotland's Apprentice of the Year after working nightshifts to produce PPE for the NHS.
Glasgow’s Samir Khan-Young has been crowned as Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.
The former Bannerman High School pupil was also victorious in the Graduate Apprentice of the Year category, which was sponsored by Scottish Funding Council. The virtual event took place on Thursday night and was delivered by Skills Development Scotland.
Samir started his Engineering: Design and Manufacture Graduate Apprenticeship at Thales in 2017 believes his greatest achievement to date has been working nightshifts for Thales’ Manufacturing Team as they produced PPE for NHS frontline workers.
The 25-year-old has now established himself as a key member of the team.
He said: “To be named as the winner all came as a bit of a shock. It’s lovely that my colleagues at Thales thought highly enough of me to nominate me in the first place.
“I wasn’t even expecting to become a finalist – to win the Graduate Apprentice of the Year category and become Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year has been a massive surprise.
“It was great to put my skills to good use during lockdown as part of the nightshift team who were making PPE for NHS staff. It was a rewarding experience.”
Having previously completed a Modern Apprenticeship at Govan-based Thales, Samir was aware that a Graduate Apprenticeship was the natural progression.
Samir, who also plays for Shettleston Football Club, said: “I knew that a Graduate Apprenticeship was the perfect next step for me to progress after my Modern Apprenticeship.
“My award is a direct reflection of the support and encouragement my colleagues have given me, which has allowed me to grow professionally.”
The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards recognised the resilience and hard work of Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprentices in a year like no other. They also shone a spotlight on those employers, providers and individuals who champion apprenticeships.
Annabel Stewart’s dedication to her science work at Charles River Laboratories saw her claim the Foundation Apprentice of the Year prize. Annabel took her apprenticeship at Dunbar Grammar School.
Paisley’s Ciara Phillips was recognised for her work at finance firm Morgan Stanley as she won the Modern Apprentice of the Year – Level 5 award.
NHS Lothian worker Tamara Kamal was successful in the Modern Apprentice of the Year Level 6 category, having worked on the frontline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Diageo electrical engineer Cameron MacDonald, from West Lothian, won the Apprentice Ambassador of the Year gong for his efforts to promote apprenticeships at schools and events across the country.
BAE Systems’ Marie Brennan was crowned as Apprentice Instructor of the Year, gaining recognition for her ongoing support of Modern Apprentices and introducing Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships at the shipbuilding firm.
West Lothian electrical engineer from Diageo, Cameron MacDonald won the Apprentice Ambassador of the Year gong for his efforts to promote apprenticeships at schools and events across the country.
Balfour Beatty was successful in the Large Employer of the Year category for their philosophy of developing a pipeline of talent through apprenticeships.
Kelso’s Scotmas Group won the SME Employer of the Year award, gaining recognition for the role its apprentices played in producing disinfectant for the NHS.
Employers were also recognised for their commitment to developing a diverse workforce through apprenticeships.
Glasgow-based law firm, Harper MacLeod won the Large Employer of the Year – Promoting Diversity category.
The SME Employer of the Year – Promoting Diversity prize was awarded to Zen Consultants.
Livingston’s Openreach training school was presented with the Innovation in Learning Provision Award for the adaptions it made to Modern Apprentices’ learning during the pandemic.
Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell said: "Businesses backing talent through apprenticeships will play a crucial role in supporting Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.
"The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards show the value apprentices add to employers and the economy.
"In the most challenging of years, our fantastic winners and finalists show that apprenticeships provide the skills that employers and Scotland need for the future.”
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop, said: “Congratulations to all the winners. Apprenticeships will play a major part in our economic recovery.
“I offer my heartfelt thanks to all our apprentices, and the businesses supporting them. Your continuous hard work and commitment during this incredibly challenging time is appreciated by everyone.
“Samir’s confidence and capability has grown throughout his Modern and Graduate Apprenticeship, putting the skills and knowledge gained to good use by helping others succeed.
“I’d also like to personally commend Samir for his critical role in our covid-19 response. He took significant responsibility to produce PPE to protect our frontline NHS workers.
“This award is a fantastic achievement and Samir should be thoroughly proud of himself. We are right behind him and will continue to do everything we can to support our apprentices and young people.”