73-year-old Aberdeen man joins apprentice scheme

18 February, 2010

Ian Watson, a 73-year-old employee of Aberdeen food and drink group ANM, has registered for a food manufacture apprentice scheme, specialising in livestock droving.

Watson is part of a team on a ‘Modern Apprenticeship’ scheme at an auction mart learning about animal welfare, staff health and safety and quick, accurate working practices.

Improve, the food and drink skills sector council, lobbied the Scottish government to remove the upper age limit on funding for apprentices last year, and to introduce the level 2 Modern Apprenticeship scheme, bringing it in line with the rest of the UK.

More than 400 people have registered to take a Modern Apprenticeship in food manufacture since last April, compared to 20 in the previous 12 months.

Improve Scotland manager, Kelvin Thomson commented: “Previously, the scope for Modern Apprenticeships was pretty narrow – they were only available for 16 to 19-year-olds. Opening this up has been vitally important for the food and drink industry.”

Thomson added: “Modern Apprenticeships offer a flexible way for employees to gain qualifications while remaining productive at work. The benefits are well documented – they are an excellent way of ensuring that companies are properly prepared for future growth.”

ANM Group owns livestock auction marts, abattoirs, meat preparation factories and a contract catering business.

Improve is one of 25 sector skills councils established by the government to take the lead in driving up skills in the workplace.

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