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Apprenticeship Week sees second chance given to McGills trainees

Five apprentices from McGills given chance to complete apprenticeships with Hillcrest.

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Five apprentices of building contractor McGills have been given a second chance, with Dundee-based company Hillcrest offering not just employment but also the opportunity to continue their apprenticeships.

Painter and decorator Lee Alan, plumbers Andrew Fenwick and Ian Crighton, and electricians Lee Brannen and Lewis MacKenzie not only lost their jobs but also the progress they had made in their training.

Nearly 400 people lost their jobs when Dundee firm McGills collapsed into administration on 1 February this year. Following the announcement, a Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) event was organised, where Hillcrest met some of the apprentices who were being made redundant.

Hillcrest’s hiring of the five apprentices also took place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019, which ran this year from 4–8 March.

The week aims to celebrate apprenticeships and promote opportunities in order to increase apprenticeship take-up as well as encourage employers to offer greater apprenticeship opportunities.

The apprentices will work out of Hillcrest Maintenance’s Tom Johnstone Road base in Dundee, and their training will pick up where they left off, now supported by members of Hillcrest Maintenance’s skilled trades team.

Graeme Keillor, Head of Hillcrest Maintenance, said: “The collapse of McGill is, of course, a huge loss to the area, but Hillcrest is delighted step in and give these young apprentices the chance to continue and not let the training they’ve received so far go to waste.”

“At Hillcrest, people are at the heart of what we do, so when the opportunity came up to help these young apprentices, we were keen to do all we could. With Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019 recently taking place, there also couldn’t have been a more apt time to welcome them our team.”

Lewis McKenzie, who is in the second year of his apprenticeship, said: “When it was announced that we were being made redundant, there were a lot of worries not just about jobs but about losing the progress we’d made so far in our apprenticeships.

“I’m delighted and excited for the opportunity that Hillcrest has given me in securing a job and continuing my apprenticeship.”