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Mears apprentices help promote Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014

Mears apprentices help promote Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014

To raise awareness of training opportunities, Mears apprentices from North Lanarkshire, took part in a variety of activities during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 19-23 May 2014.As the week coincided with Dementia Awareness Week the Mears apprentices decided to organise a lunch and invited ‘Remember Well’, a group which supports people living with dementia. The group were delighted to accept the offer, they saw this as a great opportunity to meet younger people and to form an intergenerational partnership. The apprentices contacted Karen Donnelly of Glencryan School, an assisted special needs school, who agreed to supply the food from their bistro. ‘Le Bistro' is a professional kitchen, it was set up to enable the pupils to develop their skills by cooking and serving food to the public.Willie Docherty, Managing Director of Mears said: “As a business we are committed to developing our employees. Mears currently employ 400 apprentices and we have 60 working on our North Lanarkshire contract. It’s vital for our growth and to deliver a quality service to our customers that we identify and bring new talent into the business. Offering apprenticeships allows us to do this. Every year we plan a series of activities during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we use this as an opportunity to highlight their successes but more importantly it allows them to give some something back to the communities they live and work in. Apprenticeships are good for businesses, individuals and the Scottish economy.”Norrie Gallagher, Alzheimer Scotland’s volunteer for ‘Remember Well’ said: "Remember Well provides football-focussed reminiscence weekly groups that continue to grow across North Lanarkshire. This is in no small part due to the involvement and commitment of a support group for wives, community volunteers and apprentices from the Mears Group.We believe it’s important to involve young people in our sessions, offering them an opportunity to become more dementia aware and develop their own skills and confidence through helping others. What the apprentices put into the programme is so impressive – it makes a great difference to all involved.”Karen Donnelly, Life Skills Teacher at Glencryan School said: “Our contribution to this amazing event was the catering. We have 160 pupils between 5 and 18 and the two chefs in our restaurant, Le Bistro, help them achieve City and Guilds and SVQ qualifications.We also have a horticultural teacher and grow our own fruit and veg, a laundry where we clean our tablecloths, napkins etc. and a beauty salon that caters for kids from other schools. This varied work experience really bonds the kids, and events like this also play that role.”The lunch was held at North Lanarkshire Industries which is a supported business based in the former Remploy factory at Netherton Industrial Estate in Wishaw. Councillors Jim McCabe, Jim Smith and Jim Logue plus Duncan MacKay, Executive Director of Housing and Social Work Services for North Lanarkshire Council were invited to come along and meet everyone.After the lunch the group were then taken on a tour of the factory where they observed the employees at work.