A UNIVERSITY student has told of the difference a Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) apprenticeship has made to her learning. 

Jessica Weetch says she has enjoyed "diversifying her skill set" and applying the practical elements of her studies during a six-month stint with the FLS GIS team. 

The University of Stirling student, a data science graduate apprentice, is one of 40 apprenticeships being supported by FLS, which also includes roles in trees and timber and mechanical engineering services. 

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Jessica said: “The apprenticeship has already let me develop my initial skill set as a data scientist by combining the theoretical elements of my degree to the practical elements of my work.

"I’ve been involved with a variety of projects across the organisation that have given me both an understanding of the scope of FLS’s work, and a unique insight into how so much of it hinges on data and data management.  

“It can be challenging to do a degree at the same time as working but I’ve enjoyed the support of an incredibly understanding team.

"It has been really enjoyable to diversify my skill set in this way and I cannot recommend highly enough the FLS graduate programme.”

Graduate apprenticeships are supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

They enable businesses to access high-level skills and offer a new route for people to gain degree-level, industry recognised qualifications backed by leading universities and colleges across Scotland.

Dr Mario Kolberg, programme director of the BSc graduate apprenticeship in data science at the University of Stirling, said: “We have been pleased at the response to our BSc Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science, combining the University's strength in data science with the industrial experience of our partners."

Forestry Journal: FLS teams are involved in work across the country FLS teams are involved in work across the country

Kirsty Whitehead, FLS learning and development manager, said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to attract more young people into the organisation. The range of opportunities we can offer means that people with a wide range of skills and knowledge can apply their learning to the forestry and conservation work that we do.

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“It’s a great way to create more opportunities for people to get into green jobs and help boost Scotland’s green recovery.”

To find out more about how Scottish Apprenticeships work and how to get involved visit apprenticeships.scot.