Edinburgh - Ryan O'Neill


An Edinburgh teenager got the boost he needed to get his first job thanks to employability support aimed at helping people onto the career ladder.

Ryan O’Neill, 17, started work in Scottish Gas’s Granton call centre after four weeks training with Right Track.

Funding from Skills Development Scotland’s Employability Fund was used to provide Ryan with the help he needed. The Fund helps training providers offer tailored support to people looking to get into or re-enter the workplace.

“My careers adviser put me on to Right Track and my trainer Amy Hiran told me about jobs with Scottish Gas. I am on a temporary contract and if it goes well I will be taken on permanently,” said Ryan.

Amy is delighted to have played a role in helping Ryan get his career off to a strong start. “We established that Ryan was interested in working in customer service and a two week placement with Poundstretcher gave him the confidence he needed to seize the opportunity with Scottish Gas,” she explained.

Edinburgh - Scottish Gas team leader Michelle Martin and Ryan O'NeillScottish Gas team leader Michelle Martin said: “Ryan is working out beautifully. He is punctual, polite, enthusiastic and very much a team player. I think he is going to be a real asset to our team.”

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) said today that they have supported 716 people in Edinburgh to become Modern Apprentices and take an important next step on their career path.

The apprentices, who started their apprenticeship between April 1 and September 30 2013, are among the first of the 25,000 MAs SDS has committed to supporting this year.

SDS also gave careers advice, support and guidance to 4,515 people in Edinburgh during the same time period.

More than 50,000 Modern Apprentices have been recruited with the support of SDS over the past two years, which reflects the growing popularity of gaining practical experience while working towards a qualification.

Grant McDougall, SDS’s Head of Operations for the South East, said: “Year upon year, we are seeing the incredible benefits of Modern Apprenticeships and how they are meeting the needs of businesses of all sizes as well as boosting individual careers. In particular, they provide a way into employment for thousands of young people while helping to drive Scotland’s economy.

“Other training programmes backed by SDS include the Employability Fund, which helped Ryan O’Neill get his first job where he has quickly become a real asset to the team.

“Youth employment is a key priority for SDS and all our partners in Edinburgh. We will continue to use our range of services to support more young people into work and to help employers find the people they need.”

Modern Apprenticeships are on offer in a range of more than 80 different occupations and later this year businesses and individuals across the country will be celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014 from May 19 to 23.

The fourth annual event, to celebrate Scotland’s apprentices and their employers, aims to be SDS’s biggest yet.

It will see more employers, training providers, colleges and sector skills councils engaging in activities and events throughout the week to raise awareness of the programme.

Mr McDougall added: “This is our chance to show the real value of Modern Apprenticeships – not only for young people – but for employers as well.

“We want to encourage employers of all shapes and sizes to come on board and give a young person an opportunity to work for their business and bring fresh ideas to the table.

“If we could get every employer to take on a Modern Apprentice that would make a huge contribution to youth employment in Edinburgh.”

If you are a business and thinking about taking on a Modern Apprentice or looking for further information on any of SDS’s range of initiatives call the employers’ helpline on 0800 783 6000.

If you are looking for help to get in to work or want to apply for a Modern Apprenticeship, call the careers helpline on 0800 917 8000.