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About Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

HIE is an ambitious organisation with a remit from the Scottish Government that integrates economic and community development. With around 300 staff, HIE supports hundreds of businesses and social enterprises across the Highlands and Islands. HIE works in a diverse region covering more than half of Scotland’s land mass and including all inhabited islands. Our vision is for the Highlands and Islands to be a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable region, attracting more people to live, work, study, invest and visit.

Our three priorities are to: enable strong, capable, and resourceful communities; build successful, productive, and resilient businesses; and create the conditions for growth and a green recovery.

HIE’s recruitment and selection activity is conducted in line with our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. As such, we were delighted to become an SCQF Inclusive Recruiter. We are committed to developing the young workforce as part of our workforce plan and have recently appointed a cohort of graduates and modern apprentices, including Francesca, who has shared her thoughts on her experience so far.

What’s your name, what age are you, where do you work & what is your job title?

My name is Francesca Scott, I am 31 and I work at Highlands and Islands Enterprise in the Benbecula Office. I am a Finance Administrator (MA).

How did you find out about the apprenticeship?

I was in the process of re-locating to Uist with my partner and my son, so contacted the local settlement officer to find out about job opportunities in the area, they had mentioned the company may be recruiting in the area – so I looked online and applied.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I was previously a childcare practitioner but wanted to move into more office-based work and change careers as life is different now I have a child - I wanted a job with flexibility that was less physical. The apprenticeship was an excellent way for me to comfortably change careers and re-learn some of the administration skills I hadn’t practised in a long time.

What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship journey so far?

Feeling a valued member of the team; even though I am learning, I am considered as capable as anyone else. The evidence that is required for my apprenticeship is the work that I do day in day out which makes it easier and less time-consuming to compile evidence. The apprenticeship journey really values practical skills, I find this way of learning is less intense and suits people who are not confident with mainstream learning routes. 

Were you always interested in undertaking an apprenticeship & do you understand how the SCQF level of the Modern Apprenticeship compares with other post-school options?

No, I didn’t realise it was possible at my age. Apprenticeships are a fantastic tool for people like me who want to switch careers and are in their late 20s and 30s. I don’t think people are aware that there are no age limits to apprenticeships

What are your plans for the future/your future career?

I am very happy working for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and I hope to progress within the company. I appreciate their values as it is an organisation which supports its employees who have children by allowing them to work flexibly both at home and at the office. 

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