SCOTLAND'S Minister for Higher and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training has recently visited a housing development in Monkton to speak with apprentices.

The group of Persimmon apprentices took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their skills to Jamie Hepburn MSP during the site visit.

Mr Hepburn met nine of the company’s bricklaying and joinery apprentices and heard how they are developing their skills and gaining valuable experience of the construction sector.

During the visit, the Minister also met with the Persimmon team to discuss the important role that apprentices play within the business, as well as the wider opportunities and challenges currently facing the sector.

Minister for Higher and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP, said: "It has been hugely encouraging to meet these young people and see the important role they are fulfilling at this development which will provide homes in this community for generations to come.

"I would like to thank Persimmon for the opportunity they are providing to these apprentices.

"It will play a significant part in developing our future workforce.

"Construction is one of Scotland's key industries and the skills these young people are acquiring now will help drive our future economic recovery."

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Billie Murray, a first-year bricklaying apprentice, said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship so far – I’ve been made to feel part of the team right away and getting hands-on, practical experience means you pick-up new skills really quickly.

“It was great to talk to the Minister about some of the things I’ve already learned and about how we can encourage more young women to consider a career in construction.”

Alan Prickett, Persimmon’s Regional Construction Director, said: “We were delighted to introduce the Minister to some of our brilliant apprentices and give him the chance to see the excellent work they’re doing as they develop their skills.

“In recent years we’ve consistently been one of the largest employers of bricklaying apprentices in Scotland and this year we reached a record 43 apprentices across our bricklaying, joinery and roofing frameworks.

“We’re also working hard to increase the diversity of our apprentices and we’re delighted that this year’s intake includes three new female apprentices.

"We’re committed to providing exciting opportunities in our sector for everybody within the communities in which we build.”