Trailblazing apprentices recognised at Scottish Parliament


Pictured (L-R): Apprentice graduates Euan Allardice, Emma McKay, Nigel Don MSP, Scot Black and Marc Dunn

The Scottish Parliament has celebrated the first new wave of apprentices to complete a brand new Modern Apprenticeship scheme.

Nigel Don MSP, chair of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group for Construction, presented the four graduates of the Scottish Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship Council (SPADAC) – including the first woman to qualify through the scheme – with their SVQ Level 3 certificates.

Set up three years ago at the request of the industry, SPADAC’s four-year training programme aims to better represent apprentices within the painting and decorating sector, leads to sustained employment and nurtures the next leaders of industry.

It is a partnership between SPADAC – which registers the apprentices and is owned and run by national trade association the Scottish Decorators’ Federation – CITB-ConstructionSkills, the national training body for construction apprentices and SQA.

Scot Black and Marc Dunn both from George Nicolson Decorators Ltd in Edinburgh were transferred to the new apprenticeship scheme shortly after it was established in 2009.

They have completed a Scottish Vocational Qualification Level 3 in the usual four-year period, while graduates Emma McKay from Aberdeenshire Decorating Services Limited and Euan Allardice from Robert Davidson in Banchory completed their qualification – entirely through SPADAC – in only three years.

Ian Rogers, Employers’ Secretary of SPADAC and Chief Executive of the Scottish Decorators’ Federation, said: “This is a great success story for the industry and one of the biggest events to happen to the SDF in living memory.  It’s a real landmark achievement for our partners to see these new candidates graduate, particularly as they’re also in sustained employment.  Apprentices are the future of our industry; they’re the next generation of company directors who will take up the baton for the sector, so we need to invest in them.”

Graeme Ogilvy, Director of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “CITB-ConstructionSkills is delighted to be celebrating the success of the first tranche of young people to achieve their apprenticeship through the SPADAC route. The painting and decorating sector has a long and established history of supporting apprenticeship training, and it is very encouraging to see that employers remain committed to offering sustainable employment to young people in challenging economic times.”

Alistair MacGregor, Head of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at SQA, said: “I’d like to congratulate the four graduates who have been presented with their SVQ Level 3 certificates, the first to do so as part of the Scottish Painting And Decorating Apprenticeship Council’s four-year training programme. This is a great achievement and I wish them well with their future career. We look forward to continuing our partnership with SPADAC to continue to support the future of the painting and decorating sector.”

Nigel Don MSP, said: “The painting and decorating trade, which makes up 10% of the construction industry, has supported apprentices for years and indentures around 350 apprentices into training each year. The record levels of funding for apprentices provided by the Scottish Government along with the dedication of the painting and decorating industry is paying dividends, with young people gaining qualifications that lead to real job opportunities."