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Couple hope for double at apprenticeship awards

Shortlisted for two apprenticeship awards: Joe Smith and Clare Farmer.

A YOUNG Shetland couple are in the running for two awards in the final of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, which will be held in Edinburgh next week.

Accountancy apprentice Clare Farmer is a finalist in the apprentice of the year level 2 category, while her partner Joe Smith is a contender for the level 4 and above award.

Meanwhile Scottish Sea Farms, one of the largest salmon producers in Shetland, is a finalist in the large employer of the year category.

Nineteen year old Farmer works in the Shetland office of accountancy firm RSM where she looks after VAT, payroll, bookkeeping and accounts production for a number of clients.

The former Sandwick Junior High and Anderson High pupil said: “My dad has a small farm and I did his books so I have always had an interest.

“I really enjoy my job and my employers and colleagues have been very supportive while I have been training.”

Farmer completed her Level 2 apprenticeship and is currently working on her Level 3 qualification and has just heard that her company are sponsoring her for the next level.

Her partner Joe has become one of Tulloch Developments’ most respected civil engineers.

Despite his age, the 22-year-old has already site-managed projects for the Lerwick based firm, including land reclamation, tarring six miles of road at Shetland Gas Plant, setting out works for an airport runway approach and constructing a suspended walkway under a bridge.

Smith acknowledges the benefits of more experienced colleagues sharing their knowledge with him.

“I been lucky to have been given responsibility and enjoy the good mix of work,” he said.

“The gas plant was interesting because there was a lot more health and safety involved which made it quite intense.”

He now is starting his chartered qualifications with the Institute of Civil Engineers.

Tulloch Developments director George Smith said Joe’s ability and willingness to work hard were matched only by his enthusiasm.

Hundreds of nominations were received for the awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on Thursday 3 November.