Feeling benefits of apprentice scheme

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A teenager from Kelso has recently been taking part in a national competition for housing association apprentices.

Callie Sawday, 23, featured in the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ (SFHA) Apprentice Challenge at the SFHA’s annual conference on June 1 and 2.

This is the third year of the federation’s award-winning challenge which aims to consolidate the skills of the Modern Apprentices like Callie, and highlight the role that apprenticeships play as a vital first step on the career ladder as well the importance of nurturing young workers in the housing sector.

Callie is a health and social care apprentice at Eildon Housing Association, working on a service supporting adults with learning disabilities in Berwickshire.

She said last week: “I decided to do my apprenticeship because I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience.

“I have really enjoyed learning and this has helped me in my work support adults with learning disabilities. In the future, I plan to continue studying to further develop my career.”

Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon Housing Association, said: “It is great that Callie is participating in this challenge. We got terrific feedback from two other Eildon Modern Apprentices that participated in the challenge last year, and hopefully Callie will find this experience as rewarding as her colleagues did.

“Eildon are grateful to SFHA and Skills Development Scotland for making this opportunity available. This contributed to Eildon recently being awarded Silver status for Investors in Young People. We plan to do more work in supporting young people taking up high quality housing and care services careers.”

The conference also saw the launch of an ambitious national plan for apprenticeships by the SFHA and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

The plan aims to increase the number of Modern Apprentices in housing associations and co-operatives. More young people in Scotland’s communities will be given the opportunity to gain vital skills and experience, which will, in turn, help to future-proof the social housing sector by training the housing professionals of the future.