Digital services company Atos welcomed SNP candidate Angus Robertson to its development and innovation centre in Forres to meet people on its Apprenticeship Scheme and business technology programme.
Robertson, SNP candidate for Moray, toured the facility and met with some of the 38 apprentices employed at the office.
During his visit Robertson was given presentations by some of the software development cyber security apprentices and took part in a roundtable discussion with six apprentices on their experiences working at Atos.
He also met former RAF Kinloss employees who are now employed at the facility.
Following his tour, Robertson said: “It was very encouraging to witness first-hand the work being undertaken by Atos’ young apprentices in Moray.
“It was great to have the opportunity to speak with them and hear about their enthusiasm and commitment to their chosen career paths and the support they are receiving to help achieve their goals.
“It’s fantastic that Atos is helping these bright individuals find a promising career path in the digital industry on their doorstep.
“It was reassuring to see a large company like Atos set themselves apart by investing in the young people of Moray and in taking an active role in ensuring the future of this sector.”
The apprentices operate across the company’s range of client business from the Forres base delivering a range of IT services on behalf of public and private organisations in sectors including health, energy and transport.
Gavin Thomson, senior vice-president for Atos in Scotland and Wales, said: “Atos is proud of our successful apprenticeship programmes throughout the UK and we are delighted to bring these 38 apprenticeship roles to Moray with more to follow in the future.
“We have uncovered some great talent with this current intake of apprentices and they are already bringing value to the business. We strongly believe our continued investment in Moray will deliver more benefits and opportunities to the young people as well as the local area.
“It was also a great opportunity for those young people and ex-RAF employees to share their recent work experiences with Angus.”
Jordan Slapp, a software development apprentice at Atos’s development and innovation centre, said: “We were all delighted to talk through the knowledge we’ve gained so far.
“I have always been interested in technology and an apprenticeship with Atos was a great fit as it offered me the opportunity to learn more about an area I was interested in while gaining on-the-job experience.
“There are a lot of opportunities you can take advantage of when working for a global company like Atos. They invest a lot of time in us to make sure we get the best skills in our area and continue to develop within the company.”
Atos Apprenticeship Schemes were introduced in response to what was seen as a large ICT talent gap amongst young people.
The programme allows those involved to build a career in IT through formal training and development programmes and a number of recognised qualifications through QA.
Twenty nine of the apprentices in Forres are also fast-tracked through a 12-week cyber security academy which is accredited by the University of Derby.
The Atos Apprenticeship programme has been widely recognised for its quality.
The company was declared one of the City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers in 2013, was regional Winner of the Employer of the Year in 2013’s National Apprenticeship Awards, and was also the winner of Scotland’s Best Newcomer Employer for Apprenticeships in 2012.