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Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024


Empowering Futures: Investing in Scottish Apprenticeships

David Hay, Managing Director, Compass Scotland

Today (4th March) marks the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, an annual celebration of what apprenticeships bring to individuals, businesses, and the economy.

This year, the week is set against a backdrop of uncertainty as the apprenticeship landscape is facing one of its biggest challenges. At the end of 2023, it was disappointing to hear of cuts being made to The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF).

Training and development opportunities, including apprenticeships, play an essential role in providing valuable skills and experiences and shaping future leaders and innovators. These programmes are crucial for nurturing talent and supporting the Scottish economy. Reducing access to apprenticeships will not only affect individual prospects but will also pose a broader risk to the business environment in Scotland, potentially deterring new investments and innovation.

Training and development are crucial across many of the country’s industries. At Compass Scotland, it is something we are committed to for our people and for the future of both our organisation, and the wider hospitality industry. In our business, apprentices aren’t just celebrated during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, but every day.

Apprentices are present in every aspect of our operations, and our training programmes range from culinary, front of house, facilities management, business administration, retail, customer service, and management, so there really is something for everyone. We focus on sustainability, mentorship, nurturing talent, and skills development.

Chef Stephen McLaughlin, Compass Scotland’s culinary ambassador, embodies this ethos in our apprentice workshop programme. He guides our aspiring chefs through their journey in a nod to the invaluable guidance he received from talented mentors who shaped his own career.

In our industry, we are barrierless - you don’t need specific qualifications to join as we offer skills training, clear career development pathways, and flexibility. We’re also focused on breaking down preconceptions; encouraging people, whatever their age, background, or industry experience to consider apprenticeship options. We’re committed to tackling social mobility and we truly offer opportunities for all. That’s why Compass Group UK & Ireland launched its Mission to A Million promise, which strives to positively impact the lives of one million people by 2030, including through skills development opportunities.

We have countless success stories where school and college leavers have joined our industry and trained on the job, carving out successful careers for themselves. But apprenticeships have also provided an aspirational career pathway structure for numerous people further on in their career.

Recent analysis* found that in Scotland, the number of apprenticeships started by those aged 25 and over increased by 5,400 over the last decade. Compass’ dedication to investing in skills to cultivate top-tier culinary talent is reflected in initiatives like the Forward with Marcus Wareing programme. This is an enhanced Level 4/5 apprenticeship programme, which equips our head chefs with new skills to further their career.

It is a privilege to support people at all stages with development and provide career opportunities. We're not just investing in individuals; we're investing in the future of Scotland.


*Analysis by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

David Hay, Managing Director, Compass Scotland