Today (Monday 4 March 2019) marks the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week which this year is focusing on the theme of ‘Skills for the Future’, in order to recognise the importance of investing in our workforce.
Throughout the week, we will be celebrating a range of local apprentices with events, displays and posts across our social media platforms. We hope these will showcase the breadth of apprenticeships available locally, and help people realise the different opportunities that exist to develop themselves professionally and personally.
Apprenticeships are all about learning in the workplace, gaining skills and realising your potential with the support of your colleagues.
In recognition of this, this week everyone (not just apprentices) is invited to thank a colleague, instructor, mentor or boss who helped them develop their skills and realise their potential. This can be someone you’re working with now, or someone who helped you in the past. Even if your career didn’t start with an apprenticeship, get involved and thank someone using the #HereBecauseOf hashtag.
With this campaign in mind, I got to thinking about who I am here because of. When I reflect back on my career so far, I realise that I have been supported and helped along the way by some amazing women who I had the privilege to work for, or alongside.
In a previous role, I worked for an organisation which was male dominated, particularly at a senior level. However from the beginning I was lucky enough to have female managers and work in an office with lots of other women.
To a woman, they supported and nurtured me, encouraging me to develop personally and professionally. They led by example and showed that those traits which are (often negatively) considered ‘female’ – such as compassion and sensitivity – can be an asset in a professional environment. They also encouraged me to work to my strengths and provided constructive criticism and guidance when needed.
They were all approachable and showed me that a supportive and compassionate workplace brings the best out of people. This is a management-style that I try and emulate now and I can only hope that I manage it as well as they did.
Reflecting on these women is particularly apt, as Friday (8 March) is also International Women’s Day, which is focusing on a more gender balanced world with the theme of Balance for Better.
It is important that we raise young women and men who know they can aspire to do anything they wish, regardless of their gender. It is also important that we, as parents, teachers and employers, support them to achieve to the best of their ability and offer everyone the same opportunities.
This includes letting them know about the different ways they can access and progress in a career and not only promoting one pathway as the ‘correct’ option.
So, this Scottish Apprenticeship Week, take the time to learn more about the different journeys people take in their career and also reflect on who you are #HereBecauseOf, sharing your thanks on your social media sites.
The #HereBecauseOf templates can be found here.
I am the Project Manager for Developing the Young Workforce Orkney.