Modern apprentice scheme bang on tracks for Moray youth

ScotRail apprentices at the Outward Bound Trust centre.

A SCOTRAIL ENGINEERING APPRENTICE from Forres has been speaking of his delight at taking part in a company-sponsored five day trip as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

Fraser Huggan found himself on canoes, abseiling and camping around Eskdale in the heart of the Lake District.

The ScotRail apprentices – the fourth intake for the rail operator since it began the scheme in 2013 – faced challenges included long distance walks around the lakes and peaks, where the navigational skills of the youngsters were put to the test when they were left to find their own way back to base at the Outward Bound Trust centre.

Not only did the group get the chance to kick off their journey towards obtaining a gold award with the world’s leading youth achievement programme, the trip also provided an opportunity for engineering and customer service apprentices from across Scotland to come together and share the experience as part of ScotRail’s Modern Apprenticeship scheme.

The 18-month course aims to develop young talent on Scotland’s railways and was the first of its kind in the UK rail industry when it was introduced three years ago.

Fraser said: “I enjoyed attending the Outward Bound Trust centre and found the whole experience both fun and really valuable.

“I particularly enjoyed working with the other ScotRail apprentices and hearing their experiences of the programme.”

Michelle Murray is the ScotRail apprentice programme manager and led the expedition: “Getting to see young people from two different parts of the business come together was fantastic.

“I am immensely proud of the commitment and enthusiasm shown by everyone during our time away. Individually, our apprentices pushed themselves out of their comfort zones, and as a team, they encouraged each other to achieve. A massive well done to them all.”

The apprentices will now turn their attention towards achieving the remaining elements of the Award over the course of the next year.