Fife firms are backing a national campaign to get more people into modern apprenticeships to boost their career prospects.
Scottish Apprenticeship Week, a celebration of modern apprentices which runs until Friday, is organised by national training body Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
In just one example, Methilhill woman Kelsey McAndrew found herself working on the shop floor with another female apprentice in a largely male environment, when she joined international interiors company Havelock Europa in Dalgety Bay as a modern apprentice in carpentry and joinery.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kelsey Whyte (25).“I’d spent eight years on the shop floor since I started as an apprentice and, just as another woman joined us, I was promoted into the administration side!”
Despite the move, it made perfect sense that she should provide any mentoring or support needed by Kelsey McAndrew. A year on, both of them say it has worked well.
“My dad used to work here for 15 years and I honestly wasn’t nervous about being the only woman among 70 to 80 men,” said Kelsey McAndrew (20).
“I used to potter about the shed with dad when I was little and I loved woodwork when I was at Kirkland High School.
“But when I mentioned that as a possible career, people would say ‘don’t be silly, you’re a girl – think of hairdressing or catering.’
“I worked in a supermarket when I left school but I really wanted more of a challenge and I’ve always been quite creative, so I was delighted when this came up.”
Damien Yeates, SDS chief executive, said the week highlighted the commitment of businesses which invested in workforce skills.
“Modern apprenticeships are good for business, individuals and the Scottish economy,” he added.