Sector supports Apprentices

Gordon Gibb of Polaris Learning, Gillian Martin Aberdeenshire MSP, Quality Control team leader Katrina Smuksta and Factory Quality Manger Jo Ackers both of Macduff Shellfish
Gordon Gibb of Polaris Learning, Gillian Martin Aberdeenshire MSP, Quality Control team leader Katrina Smuksta and Factory Quality Manger Jo Ackers both of Macduff Shellfish

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin visited Macduff Shellfish to hear about how workers have been supported by the company through Modern Apprenticeships.

The visit took place on the first day of Scottish Apprenticeship Week with figures showing more than 10,000 people in the North East have benefited from the scheme since 2007 across Aberdeenshire.

Ms Martin, who is a member of the Scottish Government’s Employment, Jobs and Fair Work committee, was given a tour round the facilities where she met with a number of employees who have gone on to promotion after taking part in the scheme.

Employers like Macduff Shellfish recruit their own apprentices according to need.

In the past three years, the North East company has put more than 50 of its staff members through Modern Apprenticeships of differing levels.

In total, the firm has around 300 staff members working at its facilities in Mintlaw with 86% of those employed coming to work from throughout the European Union.

Katrina Smuksta, 25, has worked for Macduff Shellfish for around six years.

Originally from Latvia, the Quality Control leader gained a number of qualifications which helped develop her skills and earn her current role.

She said taking part in a Modern Apprenticeship had helped her advance in her career and gain more confidence.

Katrina said: “I have had so much support from managers, if I ever had any questions or was feeling like I might struggle with something, they were there to help guide me.

“I have so much more confidence because now I have done it I know what I am capable of.”

Macduff Shellfish is just one of many businesses across the North East who have helped to encourage their staff to develop their skills.

Ms Martin said: “It was fantastic to walk around the factory at Macduff Shellfish and meet so many workers of varying ages who have worked so hard to gain extra qualifications with real support from the company.

“We know that while school is the starting point for children to develop and gain qualifications, Modern Apprenticeships are a fundamental example of how we can still learn so much in our working lives as adults through extra opportunities like this.”