A lesson in apprenticeship for Selkirk youngster

Agriculture Modern Apprentice Ryan Paxton from Selkirk, runner-up at Lantra Scotland’s Land-based Learner of the Year Awards, is one of many young Scots choosing a vocational route into work through Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, instead of going to university.

Between May 18-22, Scotland celebrated Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Week, an initiative set up by the Scottish Government’s national skills body, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), to highlight the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy.

The Modern Apprenticeship scheme offers new and existing employees the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications in the workplace, without the need for full-time study. They are also a highly-effective way for employers to recruit new staff and training employees to meet the specific needs of a business.

According to SDS, three-quarters of modern apprentices expect to remain with their current employer after completing their training, while around two-thirds will take on increased responsibility and improved pay. These kind of figures are making the scheme an attractive option for many young people who are concerned about running up student debts at university.

Ryan has taken full advantage of the scheme, which has helped him excel as an Agriculture Modern Apprentice working with BQ Farming Partnership in Selkirk. He has recently completed his Modern Apprenticeship Level 3 in Mixed Farming at Borders College while working at his first job at Buccleuch Estates.

Ryan said: “I had very little knowledge about farming before coming to college and starting my Modern Apprenticeship, but the course and my tutors have taught me a lot, to the extent that I can now single-handedly manage a lambing shed, and many other jobs on the farm. The college and tutors have been a great support and have helped me progress my career and get the start that I needed.”