SCHOOL leavers considering a career in the construction industry are being urged to sign up for an apprenticeship with a local firm.
Shetland-based apprenticeship officer for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Carrie Ann MacDonald said now was the time for young people to think about their career choices.
"This is the Scottish Apprenticeship Week and it is important to know for school leavers that there are vacancies available in Shetland," she said. "Last year we had lots of vacancies that we couldn't fill."
This year she is hoping to fill about 16 vacancies for joiners, painters, bricklayers, scaffolders, plant mechanics and plant operators.
Apprenticeships for electricians and plumbers are being dealt with by Train Shetland and not the CITB.
The CITB helps apprentices with travel and accommodation costs when they are required to attend college in Orkney or the Scottish mainland.
In her role as the local officer MacDonald liaises with apprentices and employers but also visits schools to promote the idea of signing up to a local apprenticeship rather than heading south for a university course.
"The biggest benefit to doing an apprenticeship is that you are getting paid throughout; you are never out of pocket and you are not building up student debts," she said.
"Construction is one of the careers where you can start at the bottom and you can work your way up to the top."
"I would urge school leavers to apply for an apprenticeship via our website www.citb.co.uk/bconstructive/
"In filling in the application form they can choose their preferences, so when local employers phone me looking for a joiner or a brick layer, I can match that with the applicants."