Apprentices’ success celebrated by Youth Employment Minister at Scottish Parliament

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance MSP has marked the milestone achievement of a new Modern Apprenticeship scheme, which saw its first group of apprentices complete their four-year training qualification in an awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament last night (Tuesday, December 3rd). Watch the video.

The Minister gave a keynote speech, which celebrated the success of nine young people who completed their Painting and Decorating Modern Apprenticeship through the Scottish Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship Council (SPADAC) scheme, set up in 2009.

SPADAC’s four-year training programme is a partnership between the Scottish Decorators’ Federation, CITB (Construction Industry Training Body) and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which aims to better represent apprentices within the painting and decorating sector, by designing the qualifications and ensuring their delivery meets the industry’s requirement.

The scheme leads to sustained employment and it now registers 80 per cent of CITB’s painting and decorating apprentices in Scotland.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said: “All of the graduates should be congratulated on their hard work over the last four years to reach today’s graduation.

“By creating 25,000 new Modern Apprenticeship opportunities each year, the Scottish Government are making good progress in supporting more young people towards jobs and learning new skills. I hope these graduates will be the first of many to graduate in the new Painting and Decorating Modern Apprenticeship.

“I wish all of the graduates good luck and success as they continue in their new careers.”

The graduates who completed their SVQ Level 3 are: Dean Boyd (21) of Tay Decorators; Craig Burns (23) and Andrew Campbell (21) of Dumbreck Decorators; Allan Lowrie (21) of Novus; Derek McAllister (20), Andrew Queen (20) and Marc Simpson (22) of D&D Decorators and Liam Wright (21) of McLaren & Co.

The group also included mature apprentice Gemma Duncan (25) who was taken on as a redundant apprentice by current employer Aberdeen-based McLaren & Co in 2010 when her original employer went into administration.

The only female graduate this year, Gemma is unfazed by working in what is still considered a male-dominated industry. She said: “I’m used to being the only girl around so it doesn’t really bother me. There were three girls on the apprenticeship and I met a few others at college doing plumbing and joinery, but that’s it. And I’ve never worked alongside another female on a job but I noticed at college that the girls had more attention to detail. This industry is still mostly known as a guys’ job, but it’s just about confidence.

“In the future I’d be interested in tutoring, possibly doing an HNC or going into interior design. If it wasn’t for my employers taking me on after my job was cut, I wouldn’t have been able to finish. And they funded my Advanced Craft certificate too, so I’m really grateful.”

Apprentices combine on-the-job training with block learning at one of 17 partnership colleges. To achieve the SVQ Level 3 certificate an apprentice must achieve all units in the training programme and successfully pass the Skills Test and the Health & Safety test in their final year. The industry’s top manufacturers support the scheme by contributing products for toolkits presented to each apprentice in their first year.

Ian Rogers, Employers’ Secretary of SPADAC and Chief Executive of the Scottish Decorators’ Federation, said: “We’re delighted that the success of our young – and not so young – apprentices and the SPADAC scheme has been recognised by the Scottish Government.

“Apprenticeships are a commitment that stretches back to 1857 within the painting and decorating sector and are a vital part of the future of the construction industry. Importantly, we’re proud to fulfill the promise of apprenticeships to young people like Gemma who were made redundant by securing them alternative full-time employment.”

Graeme Ogilvy, Scotland Director for CITB, said: “We are proud supporters of the Scottish Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship Council (SPADAC) and its new Modern Apprenticeship scheme and congratulate all the young people on their successes.

“CITB Scotland is working closely in partnership with SPADAC and other councils and federations to ensure Scotland has the skilled workforce required for the construction industry in the future.

“With more than 70% of our recruitment in the 16-19-year-old age bracket, this will have a major impact on Scottish youth employment and help address the issue of an anticipated 35,000 people leaving the industry for retirement in the next 5-10 years.”


Notes to Editor

Picture caption: (L-R) Gemma Duncan, Liam Wright, Dean Boyd, Andrew Queen, Marc Simpson, Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance MSP, sponsoring MSP Nigel Don Derek McAllister, Andrew Campbell, Craig Burns and Allan Lowrie.

For further information please contact:

SDF                  Jenny Kumar, JK Consultancy – 07989 557198 /

CITB                 Brian Welsh, The Big Partnership – 0141 333 9585 /

SQA                  Helen Campbell– 0845 213 5114 /

About the Scottish Decorators’ Federation (SDF)

SDF is the national trade association for the painting and decorating industry in Scotland, representing around 75% of the painting and decorating work carried out in Scotland. A lobbying organisation, the Federation’s CEO Ian Rogers and elected members sit on a range of committees, including the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group for Construction, to champion broad-based training and regulation within the industry. The apprentice registration arm of the SDF is the Scottish Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship Council (SPADAC), which was established in 2009 in partnership with CITB and SQA, and now registers 80% of CITB’s apprentices in Scotland.

About CITB

CITB is the Industrial Training Board (ITB) for the construction industry in Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales). We are working to ensure that construction employers have the right skills, in the right place, at the right time by investing funds and providing a wide range of industry-led skills and training solutions. We are also a partner in CITB, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the UK construction industry, and we are raising employer engagement in training, providing labour market insights on future skills needs and developing standards and qualifications for the sector. As an ITB and SSC, CITB is providing vital support to a sector, which is central to the UK economy. 

Scottish Qualifications Authority –

The Scottish Qualificatons Authority (SQA) is the national awarding body in Scotland. SQA works in partnership with schools, colleges, universities and industry to provide high quality, flexible and relevant qualifications and assessments – embedding industry standards where appropriate. We strive to ensure that SQA qualifications are inclusive, accessible to all, that they provide clear progression pathways, facilitate lifelong learning and recognize candidate achievement. There are approximately 1,500 centres approved to offer our range of qualifications.