Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021

Sitekit meet with Deputy First Minister, John Swinney for Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021.

Scottish digital innovation firm, Sitekit are heavily developing tomorrow’s tech workforce by offering professional development and learning opportunities with West Highland UHIRobert Gordon University and QA Apprenticeships.

For the past six years, Campbell Grant, Sitekit Group Chairman, has been behind the reins helping to create the initial Foundation Apprenticeship programme in Software Development. This programme is currently offered by West Highland College UHI and many other organisations today. Sitekit has since onboarded several apprentices from all three types of apprenticeship programmes, offering young people opportunities to improve their software skills through the foundation, modern, and graduate apprenticeships. Sitekit believe these programmes contribute to attracting a new workforce to rural communities, improving the local economy, and providing staff with further opportunities.

Campbell Grant, Sitekit Group Chairman, said:

“I am delighted with Sitekit’s dedication to supporting apprentices across Scotland. We are committed to developing the technical workforce of tomorrow. Regardless of location, our priority remains to educate young talent, supporting them throughout their journeys, whether it be foundation, modern, or graduate level.”

Quickly recognising the geographical limitations for apprenticeships, Sitekit acted promptly, working closely with West Highland College UHI to become the only virtual foundation apprenticeship provider in Scotland. The programme moved to a virtual platform to design a course available to everyone regardless of rurality. Since the switch to a virtual programme, Sitekit has successfully onboarded foundation apprentices each year, including being one of the few SMEs to maintain an extensive apprenticeship programme during COVID-19.

In 2020, the Highlands and Islands accounted for just under 14% of foundation apprentices in Scotland collectively across the four cohorts of the year. Each cohort showed a steady increase, and we aim to have great involvement in increasing this number.

Nicola Hearnden, Lecturer at West Highland College UHI, said:

“Sitekit’s Gold Standard Foundation Apprenticeship program offers ground-breaking opportunities for pupils across the region to gain real world work experience despite rurality or local opportunity. West Highland College UHI are delighted to partner Sitekit in the delivery of this dynamic program and see exciting new worlds of opportunity open for our students.”

We are honoured to have met with the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, to discuss the role businesses in rural communities can play in developing the future workforce and providing equal education opportunities across Scotland. During our discussion, we talked to the Deputy First Minister about further building on apprenticeship programmes, expressing our delight to be working closely with several apprentices and developing them on both an educational front and in the world of work.

Throughout the engagement, we highlighted our commitment to providing equal opportunities and progressing apprentices through the ranks. One of our employees joined our team on Skye eight years ago. Within that time, he has completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Software Development provided by West Highland College UHI. He is now in his last year of his Graduate Apprenticeship in BSc (Hons) Software Development for Business with Robert Gordon University, all the while remaining home in the Isle of Skye. We aim to continue supporting our apprentices on their journey through education and professional development, retaining local talent, and recognising growth through long-term placements and opportunities with Sitekit, regardless of location. We are committed to continuing our relationship with apprenticeships providers to give apprentices across the Highlands and Islands fair opportunities for workplace education and developing our rural communities’ workforce.

Post by Cathey Horsfall

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