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Kickstart your career in Shetland

by Promote Shetland -

Take the first step into your future in our thriving island community. Shetland offers apprenticeship and graduate opportunities, training courses and more.

Shetland has lots to offer young people. Apart from being a beautiful place to live with friendly people, there are stacks of further education and training opportunities to be had. The low population also means you can often gain more experience and get ahead in your chosen profession more quickly than you might otherwise do on the Scottish mainland.

The current coronavirus situation may have put many young people's plans on hold for the time being, but lockdown does provide a good chance to think about the future. As soon as restrictions are lifted and travel to and within Shetland is permitted again, a number of opportunities await.

Further education

If you’d like to continue with your education, Shetland College UHI is the most northerly partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). With a variety of courses from National Certificate to Postgraduate level, you can become qualified in accounting, joinery, childcare, software development, or specialise in textiles or archaeology to name just a few. UHI’s Centre for Rural Creativity is based in Shetland and in partnership with Shetland Arts Development Agency there are film, music and media courses available up to Masters level.

Shetland’s North Atlantic Fisheries College (NAFC) is also part of UHI. It offers a range of training courses relevant to the maritime industries. Courses range from the three-year Merchant Navy Cadet Programme to short courses and cover both 'deck' and marine engineering topics, as well as other subjects required by seafarers.

On-the-job training

Shetland is always on the look-out for enthusiastic young people to add to its skilled workforce and offers a number of on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities. Train Shetland (Vocational Training) manage and coordinate modern apprenticeships in Shetland. Apprenticeships are available in a number of sectors from construction and engineering, to agriculture, hospitality and hairdressing.

Shetland is a great place to start and continue your career

Alternatively, you can go straight into working for an employer through a graduate trainee programme. Shetland software developers Mesomorphic recently took on Finlay Mercer as a graduate apprentice straight from school. Having had an interest in coding from an early age, Finlay is employed as a junior software developer.

“Shetland is a great place to start and continue your career,” says Maria Bell, managing director at Mesomorphic. “With good transport links to the mainland, great island infrastructure and a multitude of groups and clubs you’ll soon find yourself settled and raring to go.”

Case study: Hands-on training works best for apprentice Shane

Vehicle maintenance apprentice Shane Johnson works with Lerwick-based DFDS Shetland Transport and says that the apprenticeship has been a great opportunity for him: “I get a lot of satisfaction through my apprenticeship. If an engine came in not starting you build it all back up and, at the first turn of the key, it’s back in action. I find it really satisfying.”

Shane is currently working on his Level 3 qualification in heavy vehicle maintenance through Train Shetland and goes to Moray Firth Training Centre in Inverness on block release to complete the training component.

Case study: Caring career ahead for Latasha

Latasha Mein’s ambition to work in social work and caring services led her to Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) careers services.

“I knew I wanted to go into social work as a career but had lots of questions about what my options would be after leaving school,” she says.

Latasha went on to study NC Social Sciences at Shetland College UHI and was able to work with careers advisers at SDS’s Lerwick careers centre while at college and looking for her next opportunity. She’s now doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Business & Administration with Shetland Island’s Council’s Community Health and Social Care team, gaining skills and experience in the social care sector.

She said: “I wouldn’t be in the apprenticeship without the help from SDS careers team.”

Case study: Alasdair takes to the seas

He’d always dreamed of visiting Shetland one day, so when the opportunity arose for Alasdair Bendall to enrol in NAFC’s Merchant Navy Officer Cadet Programme he jumped at the chance.

Alasdair works for Anglo Eastern, a ship management company and is sponsored by DAO Shipping. He’s in his second year of a three-year training programme, splitting his time between classroom-based study and working as a trainee at sea.

“The college is fantastic as the class sizes are small and you get lots of contact time with your lecturers, unlike at bigger colleges and universities,” he says. “Shetland is a fantastic place to live. The people are friendly and there’s lots to do. I’m into the local music scene and a keen amateur photographer.”

Interested in a career in Shetland?

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Shetland works with employers across Shetland to identify training, apprenticeships and jobs for young people. Follow them on Facebook for the latest opportunities. For more general career advice, Skills Development Scotland have a Shetland office, which you can contact on +44 (0)1595 695 791.

A shorter version of this article originally appeared in Leavers Magazine.

Posted in: Community

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