The Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative in Glasgow

2nd September 2011 at 01:00

Dale Coyne was keen to leave school after his Standard grade exams. However, determined to carve out a career in IT, he had resigned himself to having to stay on in order to get a college or university place. Then he came across the IT apprenticeship advertised as part of Glasgow City Council's Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative.

Weeks after he handed in his application, he was accepted into the modern apprenticeship scheme and, in July, started work on the IT team. It has been a steep learning curve, the 16-year-old from Craigend told TESS, but a worthwhile experience.

"I have learned millions after just being here a few weeks, and I have been involved in so much. I have got my own `to do' list and people phone up and ask for help."

He said he enjoyed both the independence his job allowed him and working in an office environment.

"School wasn't for me, I have always wanted a job, and this is the best of both worlds. I am still learning, and I am working," he said.

"We have just passed the biggest milestone, the network migration from the Glasgow City Council network to our own, which I will help run, and I will help run the helpdesk," he said.

After being shown around the company in his first week, he now also shadows a co-worker, and will work alongside this mentor for the duration of his two-year apprenticeship.

Next week, he will attend college for the first time for an induction to the teaching-based side of his apprenticeship, which will see him spend a week at college every couple of months. "After the exams, I will be fully Microsoft-qualified and Windows 7-configured, which is actually more than some of the IT people here have got," said Dale.

The Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative is funded entirely by Glasgow City Council, at around pound;3.5m to pound;4m a year. Designed to contribute to the legacy of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, it targets people aged 16 and over who either live in Glasgow or went to school in the city.

Since it was introduced two years ago, the scheme has helped 1,500 school leavers secure an apprenticeship by creating posts within the council and its arm's-length organisations, and by offering employers up to pound;8,000 toward the cost of taking on an apprentice.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said the CAI was the most ambitious and far-reaching scheme of its kind in the UK. It clearly demonstrated that the council was committed to investing in skills and jobs, and supporting both young people and businesses in the city, he said.

"The CAI has been a fantastic foundation for our young people as they leave school. I'm delighted with the support Glasgow 2014 and many private sector organisations have given to it. It's been a huge success already and hundreds of young people like Dale now have a bright future ahead of them," he said.

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