The first NHS Lothian apprentices in 15 years have got off to a flying start in their training.

Four teenagers, from Edinburgh, East Lothian and West Lothian met health board chief executive Professor James Barbour and told him about their first few weeks on the four-year scheme. They were joined by two adult apprentices who have gone on to the scheme from the existing NHS Lothian estates workforce.

The apprentice scheme is part of NHS Lothian’s ongoing commitment to supporting individuals and the wider economy during the downturn.

During the first year the apprentices take courses at Jewel & Esk College to prepare them for working life in hospitals – and all the special health and safety issues that they have to be aware of. They will then continue their top-quality training as each of them specialise in one trade, but develop valuable skills in others.

Professor James Barbour, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, said:

“It was great to meet the new apprentices and hear about how they are getting on – I was particularly impressed by their motivation and enthusiasm."
“It is vitally important that we train a new generation of expert tradesmen to keep the fabric and infrastructure of our hospitals in good running order."
“Scotland needs skilled tradesmen for the future and we believe it is important that organisations like NHS Lothian play their part by taking on new apprentices.”

The apprentices are currently undergoing some of their training at Edeta Training Services in Leith.

George Curley, NHS Lothian Head of Estates Management, said: “The apprenticeships take four years and provide great training.

“Once these apprentices have qualified they will be able to carry out any number of vital jobs that are needed to keep a large, modern and complex building running smoothly."
“They will be able to look forward to rewarding careers, doing highly skilled and challenging work of all kinds."
“Tradesmen of this kind are vital in keeping not just the NHS, but the whole country, going.”