Housing minister launches SFHA Apprentice Challenge 2016

Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

Minister for housing and welfare Margaret Burgess MSP will mark the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 (February 29–4 March) by launching a national challenge for housing apprentices.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ (SFHA) Apprentice Challenge will see young people from housing associations and co-operatives across Scotland taking part in a competition. They will work individually and in teams to create video diaries of their apprenticeships which will be presented at the SFHA’s annual conference in June.

This is the third year of the federation’s award-winning challenge which aims to further consolidate the skills of the Modern Apprentices and highlight the important role that apprenticeships play as a vital first step on the career ladder.

The challenge will be launched today at Barrhead Housing Association by Mrs Burgess who will meet with Modern Apprentices from the I-FLAIR consortium of housing associations and ng homes.

The minister said: “The SFHA’s Apprentice Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to put apprentices in the spotlight, and I would encourage young people across the country to enter this year’s competition.

“The Apprentice Challenge showcases the valuable contribution apprentices make to the social housing sector and the important role they are playing helping us to deliver affordable housing.

“The challenge also recognises the housing associations and co-operatives that are supporting young people into rewarding careers and helping the Scottish Government to deliver its target of 30,000 new Modern Apprenticeship opportunities each year by 2020.”

David Adam, 19, is currently completing his Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 2 in Housing at Barrhead Housing Association.

He said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to start a career as they provide learning on the job and you are able to put theory in to practice.

“I’ve just started my apprenticeship – this is my second week on the course – but already it feels very promising.

“After I complete my Level 2 in Housing, I would like to carry on with further courses at a higher level of SVQ qualification and keep working towards developing a professional career with a housing association.”

Juliet Duff, 19, is an apprentice at ng homes who took part in lasts year’s Apprentice Challenge.

She said: “I have been with ng homes for just over a year now, and, in that time, I have achieved my CIH Level 2 in Housing and an SVQ Level 3 in Business Administration. I am also currently undertaking my CIPD in Human Resources. I am really enjoying working here, and I would encourage anyone considering an apprenticeship to go for it.

“Taking part in the SFHA’s Apprentice Challenge last year also provided me with the opportunity to further develop my skills and meet other young housing apprentices working in similar roles throughout Scotland.”

Mary Taylor, chief executive of the SFHA, said: “We are delighted that the housing minister is launching our 2016 Apprentice Challenge as this highlights the importance of apprenticeships in the social housing sector.

“Apprenticeships can give young people the vital skills and experience which will benefit them throughout their careers, and nurturing young talent now will benefit the sector in the future.”

Tommy Cuthbert, MA expansion plan manager at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), which is supporting the challenge, said: “We are delighted to support the SFHA Apprentice Challenge for the second year running and continue to work with the SFHA to champion Modern Apprenticeships in the housing sector.”

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