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Business / Sarah scoops national apprenticeship award

Sarah Sandison.

AN ACCOUNTANT working at a Shetland company has been named as winner in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Sarah Sandison, 26, is undertaking her modern apprenticeship with Bon Accord Accountancy Limited, allowing her to gain her qualifications without having to leave home.

She received the award, in the Modern Apprentice of the Year SCQF Level 5 category, sponsored by College Development, at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday night.

Sandison said: “I’m delighted to have received this award. Doing a Modern Apprenticeship has meant I can remain in Shetland while getting qualifications, which is ideal for me.

“During my apprenticeship, I’ve grown in confidence, including when it comes to sitting exams. And I can relate a lot of my Modern Apprenticeship course content to what I’m doing in my day-to-day job.”

Sarah is currently doing a Modern Apprenticeship Level 5 in accounting.

Despite the challenges of lockdown she has progressed well, moving up from foundation to intermediate level and is on track to reach the professional level.

At the same time, she is planning her wedding and building her own house.

Bon Accord Accountancy Limited director Allan Jamieson said: “Huge congratulations to Sarah on her achievement, which is richly deserved. We’ve seen a great development in her skills and she has been very adept at working with us while studying. She’s a very conscientious person.”

Jamieson, whose firm employs 13 people and one modern apprentice at North Ness in Lerwick, added: “A lot of people prefer to work on the islands where they’ve been born and brought up. Apprenticeships fit well in that respect as they can be done through the local college in Shetland.

“They are advantageous for us as it can be difficult to find and retain skilled staff in Shetland in the way that firms in or close to big cities can.”

Janice Leask, vocational training co-ordinator with learning provider Shetland UHI/Train Shetland said: “Sarah has a great work ethic and is exemplary with her studies during her Modern Apprenticeship.

“When exam centres had to close because of Covid, she just kept studying and did the exams when they re-opened.

“If you go away from Shetland full-time to college or university it costs a lot of money by the time you pay for your travel and accommodation. A big advantage with apprenticeships is that you’re earning and learning and come out with qualifications.”

Minister for higher education, further education, youth employment and training Jamie Hepburn said: “The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the voices of apprentices and their employers from across the length and breadth of the country.

“Sarah is a great example of how apprenticeships work for Scotland.”