Darren takes top honours at Modern Apprenticeship Awards

The arrival of Scottish Apprenticeship Week heralds the celebrations for North East Scotland College’s recently qualified Modern Apprentices.

By John A. MacInnes
Friday, 11th March 2022, 9:41 am
Darren Ritchie
Darren Ritchie

Students who successfully completed their Modern Apprenticeship qualification over the last 12 months were formally recognised for their achievements at the annual Modern Apprenticeship Awards, held virtually on March 10. The results of the NESCol Apprentice of the Year awards were also announced.

The awards ceremony, sponsored by Gray & Adams, celebrates the achievements of over 130 apprentices.

Neil Cowie Principal said: “It can take up to four years to achieve this vocational qualification so it is important to acknowledge the tremendous effort and achievement of apprentices and recognise the support from employers, mentors, friends and family and the NESCol curriculum and support teams.

“The benefits of this qualification are extensive both for the individual and for the region. At NESCol we are driven by our role in realising the ambitions of both the Regional Economic Strategy and Regional Skills Strategy, shaping a workforce equipped to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities for the North East.

“Every Modern Apprentice has a crucial part to play in a bright and vibrant future for the region. My thanks to all involved and in particular to Gray and Adams, our awards sponsor.”

NESCol remains one of the largest training providers for modern apprentices in the region with close to 400 apprentices currently on a training programme. Many of the apprenticeship programmes are fully funded and so ideal for large and small businesses alike.

17 finalists were shortlisted by assessors for the NESCol’s Apprentice of The Year awards and the Ian Corney Memorial award.

Engineering Apprentice of the Year winner was Darren Ritchie (22) of Peterhead, who studied electrical maintenance engineering at Denholm Seafoods.

Ever since Darren was young he knew he wanted to be an engineer. After leaving school he successfully applied for an apprentice position with Denholm Seafoods as an electrical engineer.

He said, “Every day in my apprenticeship is different – from panel building to diagnosing faults to installations of new circuits. I am more of a hands on sort of guy so the apprenticeship route worked for me. It’s taught me lots of analytical skills – I always take time to assess and try to be composed under pressure and it’s given me the motivation and persistence to succeed.

“I never thought I would be able to build a panel from scratch and yet one of my panels is now in the factory for conveyor belts, taking fish from one end of the factory to the other!”

“I always take every day as a learning day. I’m not perfect but I look to go the extra mile and do my job to the best of my ability so that I can always improve as an individual.”

NESCol is one of the largest providers of vocational education and training in Scotland. The College operates from its main Altens, City and Fraserburgh campuses as well as the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead and learning centres in Ellon and Inverurie.