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PROSTYLZ and Chelsea Hood

Chelsea Hood, a Modern Apprentice at PROSTYLZ hair salon

Lorraine Patrick at Prostylz in Cumnock, has been in business for nine years, but had never before had a trainee. She says: "Chelsea Hood came in to get some experience on the Easy Project. It was very obvious very quickly that she would be good at the job and fit in well with our team. It can be very hard to find someone who is really keen and works well, but when it was suggested that we could take her on and train her as a Modern Apprentice I jumped at the chance. She's proved to be keen, works hard and is very good with the customers. She's learning very fast with the back up from her trainer for Ayr College who visits.

"In hairdressing on the job training is vital and she’s benefiting from all our experience. I'm very happy with the support we've had from East Ayrshire's Economic Development team. Chelsea has nearly finished her SVQ level 2 and will go on and do her level 3. It takes a full five years to fully train a hairdresser. The Modern Apprenticeship scheme offers a very thorough, practical training and we've found the whole process very easy."

Chelsea, who is 18, attended Drongan Primary and Auchinleck Academy before joining the Easy Project which led to her apprenticeship. She had always wanted to be a hairdresser and is very happy in her chosen profession.

She says: "I started working at Prostylz in November 2012. I love it here. For me working hands on in the salon has been better than going to college full time. I think I learn more from real life situations and that is backed up by the paperwork and training I get from my SVQ tutor.

"The best thing about the job is working with the clients - they're lovely. And I really enjoy learning new techniques – it's amazing what you can do with hair! I like working with the other staff, they're always very happy to help me learn. I'm going to carry on studying for my SVQ Level 3 once I complete my level 2 in June and I'm very happy to have found a permanent job through the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme."

GFB Buildings and Neil McGee

Neil McGee, a Modern Apprentice with GFB Buildings

For Chris Simm, a building engineer who set up her company GFB Buildings at her home near New Cumnock in 2006, becoming an employer was the first step towards expanding her business. But finding the right candidate and going about employing and training them seemed a daunting task. Then she heard about help on offer from East Ayrshire Council's Economic Development team's employability specialists.

Chris was invited to take part in a Recruitment Fair, giving her the chance to meet and select Modern Apprentice candidates. With help from the employability team, Chris then picked six young people, aged between 16 and 24 for an interview and aptitude test.

Neil McGee (18) impressed Chris so much that he was given the MA placement and signed up to study for his SVQ Level 2 in Customer Service.

Says Chris: "I was very aware that whoever I chose for this job would have to be able to get along with me since we'd be working closely together. Meeting young people at the Recruitment Fair was an excellent way to assess who might have the skills and interest which could be developed with training. Neil stood out for his easy manner and sense of humour and he's gone from strength to strength since he joined me last year.”

Neil, a former pupil of Barshare Primary and Cumnock Academy, was particularly attracted to the job because of his interest in construction, having grown up family in the building trade. He had experience helping in joinery and general building work. Through his Modern Apprenticeship he has developed his customer care and selling skills and has been instrumental in setting up and maintaining the GFB's Facebook and web pages. He particularly enjoys dealing with customers and is continuing his education. Having completed his SVQ level 2 in Customer Service as a Modern Apprentice Neil is now studying for his SVQ Level 3 in Customer Service. The wage costs for the training period as a Modern Apprentice were supported for the initial 12 months and now 50% of the wage costs are supported for a further 6 months through recruitment incentives available from East Ayrshire Council.

Chris says: "The support we've had from East Ayrshire's Economic Development team has been invaluable, making the whole process and the ongoing training easy. With both financial and practical help we've been able to expand the business to the extent that we have now moved our business base to Boreland Business Centre, enabling us to attract more customers than ever. Neil has been instrumental in helping us with that move, he really can turn his hand to anything, being just as good at practical work as he is with his office skills. I'd encourage anyone looking to expand to consider taking on a trainee with support from East Ayrshire Council."

Character Joinery - Craig Martin and Stuart Queen

Modern Apprentices Craig Martin and Stuart Queen at Character Joinery

Craig and Stuart are just two of a total of five young apprentices taken on by Kelvin Murray of Character Joinery in the last few years with support from East Ayrshire Council. He's a firm believer in encouraging young talent: "We’re delighted with the results we’ve had with our lads. Having young people coming in does require some patience and time but it's a worthwhile investment, they add to the workplace with their enthusiasm and it's great to see them grow and develop. At the same time it's been a good way for me to grow my business, training them to do the job right from the start and it's a great investment in the future. They all fit well into our team and the older joiners enjoy passing on their skills and helping them to learn."

The young joiners spend 50% of their time at Ayr College, gaining SVQ  qualifications in a course which takes 4 years. The cost of their employment and training has been part funded by East Ayrshire Council.

Stuart Queen won apprentice of the year at Ayr College and came 3rd in Scotland in a national competition skills test.

Kelvin Murray says "I'm so glad I gave them a chance, they're a great asset to my business and they're developing into rounded, talented young men with our help."

First Aid UK

Ben Stirling, a Modern Apprentice at First Aid UK

Ben Stirling, Kris Giralidis, Jay Hodge, Jenny Ballantyne, Ashley McMurdo and Brian Shaw have all been working at First Aid UK, a growing Cumnock business which employs a large number of local people. Funding from East Ayrshire Council has allowed the business to recruit the Modern Apprentices to support their growing needs.

First Aid UK Director Jill Dunn said: "The council's Economic Development Service has worked tirelessly with us to help increase our sales force from within the local community. They have always listened to our business needs and tried to send candidates who will be suitable for our business.

"Ben and his fellow Modern Apprentices are working out very well. They all have a good work ethic and, along with the support of existing staff and the excellent training structure on offer they are becoming great employees for First Aid UK Online."

Taking on a Modern Apprentice

Interested in taking on a Modern Apprentice? Contact the Economic Development team on the details below to get started.

Contact Information

Economic Development
Opera House
8 John Finnie Street
Telephone: 01563 503237
Employability Team
Telephone: 01563 503000