7th Mar, 2024

Foundation Apprenticeships are plain sailing at Port of Aberdeen

Foundation Apprenticeships are the first step on the apprenticeship ladder for young people, combining learning with hands-on work experience. Amber Inglis from Port of Aberdeen shares her experience of mentoring Blair MacAulay, a senior pupil from Mackie Academy, during his Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills.

Blair Macaulay

How did Port of Aberdeen first get involved with supporting Foundation Apprentices?

We have been working with DYW North East over the past two years, becoming a Young Person's Guarantee pledge partner last year. When we were asked if we could facilitate a work placement, we said yes straight away as it aligned with our commitment. Our time requirement is only one morning per week, so there was no issue with being able to provide the required mentoring.

How has the placement process worked from your perspective?

I wasn’t sure how the apprenticeship worked but I was told that Blair had to complete a module on documentation initially. We had a call with Blair's tutor from the Aberdeenshire Council Foundation Apprenticeship team, who outlined the type of documents Blair could work on, plus an additional project. Blair has been able to help out with tasks from the beginning, completing a mix of simple posters and very complex system set ups. The project happened naturally from the work Blair has been doing for me on our recruitment system. Once we had completed various tasks, the tutor helped us understand how to produce evidence and task logs. It has not been onerous for me at all. I have treated Blair like a trainee, giving him pieces of work to complete, plus feedback and tips. Blair has carried them out and used them to support his qualification.

Any highlights?

Blair delivered a training session for our Line Managers on the process he has set up in our new recruitment database. He was a bit nervous but he did an excellent job.

And have there been any surprises?

I am genuinely surprised at how well Blair has picked up the role. Having completed the required tasks for his Foundation Apprenticeship, he now comes in once a week and is an extra pair of hands in the department. I can trust him to pick up work and complete tasks for me.

Do you have any tips for other employers who may be considering offering Foundation Apprenticeship placements?

I definitely recommend it! Trust them, don’t over-manage them. Young people are more capable than you would think; they can learn really quickly and make a valuable contribution to your team with some appropriate mentoring.

Read about Blair's perspective on his Foundation Apprenticeship experience here.

Port of Aberdeen facilitate Foundation Apprenticeships as part of their Young Person's Guarantee pledge. If your organisation is interested in supporting young people, DYW North East can help you get started. Contact us to find out more. Employers can also learn about Foundation Apprenticeships here.

Young people and their parents/carers can find out more about the different types of Foundation Apprenticeship - and how to choose a Foundation Apprenticeship as a school subject - here.

Get in touch with the team at info@dyw.org.uk

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