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Prize scoop for modern apprentices

A 35-year-old mature student at Carnegie College was named as top apprentice at Skills Development Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship Awards last week.

Jason Hunter won the "traditional sector" over-20 category and went on to compete against 11 other finalists from all over Scotland before taking the overall title.

After leaving school, Jason joined facilities management firm Johnson Controls as maintenance assistant. Operations manager Alex Eastwood saw his potential and encouraged him to sign up for a modern apprenticeship at Carnegie College.

Jason began his foundation training in March 2006, but his lack of numeracy skills almost derailed him. He persevered and enrolled for additional maths classes, which helped him achieve the National Certificate.

Since then, Jason has pursued other industry-related qualifications, including the HNC in electrical engineering. He said: "I want to do more training, get more experience and make a career."

Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Michael Russell, who attended the event, said: "The modern apprentice programme is a key part of our economic recovery strategy - providing training to help us build and maintain the infrastructure needed to develop a skilled workforce."

Three other apprentices also walked away with prizes. Electrical installation apprentice Richard Sagar from Langholm completed a double, scooping the award for 16 to 19-year-olds in the "traditional" occupations category; this follows his gold medal win at the Worldskills tournament in Calgary, Canada, earlier this year.

The "non-traditional" award went to Orkney beauty therapist Amanda Mainland. And human resource worker Carolyn Donnelly, from East Kilbride, took the non-traditional prize for the 20-plus age group.

Employers honoured for their commitment to training were the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in Moffat; Aberdeenshire hydraulic company ACE Winches; Scottish Gas, whose pound;1.2 Energy Academy was opened earlier this year by the First Minister; Rolls-Royce and Anniesland College for their partnership working; Glasgow's GTG Training; and OPITO, the oil and gas academy.

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