A north-east school pupil has told how taking part in an apprenticeship scheme has inspired her to become a surgeon.
Samika Ali is one of 16 teenagers from Portlethen Academy completing a foundation apprenticeship in health and social care at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Designed for pupils in their senior years of high school, those signed up gain experience on the frontline of the NHS as well as gaining an academic qualification.
Samika, 18, was at the city hospital yesterday speaking about her experiences of working alongside medical professionals.
She now dreams of training to be a surgeon after taking on the course.
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She said: “The work experience is something you cannot find anywhere else and you can’t get it yourself, so it was a great opportunity. I really wanted first-hand experience.
“The reason I chose this is because I wanted to see how I would cope in this environment and the kind of skills I would need.
“There’s been a big change in my communication skills.
“Communication is something that has to change depending on who you’re with or where you are and in the hospital setting you meet lots of different patients.
“There’s also people who have difficulty communicating in different ways so I’ve also dealt with those challenges with the help of nurses and doctors.”
Samika spoke at the launch of the Scottish Apprenticeship Week yesterday.
NHS Grampian employability and apprenticeships programme lead, Douglas Andrew, said: “We’ve had a lot of success with introducing the foundation apprenticeship programme on top of the other modern and graduate apprenticeship programme that we currently do as well.
“We’ve got foundation apprenticeships in all areas within our organisation, ranging from the children’s hospital to maternity to mental health and community hospitals and district nursing teams as well.”
Gillian Owen, chairwoman of education and children’s services at Aberdeenshire Council, said the experience helped give young people make “informed decisions” about their future.
Skills Development Scotland Chief Executive Damien Yeates said: “Scottish Apprenticeships create opportunities for everyone, no matter their background and for every business.
“We are facing ever-growing demand for foundation and graduate apprenticeships from employers, demonstrating that work-based learning is crucial to meeting critical skills gaps.”
For more information visit apprenticeships.scot/foundation