Training Officer Recognised at Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

Pat Macaskill, Training Officer

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Training Officer Pat Macaskill has been nominated as a finalist for the Apprentice Instructor of the Year Award at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Since 2013, Pat has been working full-time as a training officer. Her job consists of working with Foundation Apprenticeship Students, Modern Apprenticeship candidates and Staff Candidates for both Childcare and Health and Social care.

Some of her responsibilities include assessing and observing the candidates in their workplace, discussions with them about how their work is progressing and generally supporting their development. Pat also takes an active role in the mentorship of new staff and the development of new apprenticeship programmes.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Apprenticeship Team Leader Sarah Reap said:

“Pat always goes the extra mile with her apprentices to ensure their engagement continues throughout the course. The Western Isles is a unique area where depopulation is a very worrying concern. Pat’s role in providing opportunities for local individuals to gain skills and knowledge through work-based learning to ensure they have a secure career pathway is of upmost importance.   Providing work force development to allow continuous skilled staff to be employed in the Social Services sector has only grown with importance over the last few years and Pat has very much been at the forefront of providing that sustainability.”  

After qualifying as a nurse in 1975 Pat worked between the Lewis Hospital and County Hospital for twelve years. During that time, she got married and started her own family in South Lochs, leaving nursing behind.

When her youngest son reached nursery age, there was no available nursery in Pairc, South Lochs, for him to attend. Pat, along with her friend, took into their own hands to set up a nursery facility for the kids in South Lochs and run it themselves.

Reflecting on beginning the nursery, Pat said:

“For the first year of running it, we didn’t get paid for it, it was voluntary. But after the first year we began to get paid. The nursery is still running, but under a different name, so that is nice to see.”

Pat gained a degree in Childhood Practice and moved to the council’s training team part time initially then full time in 2014, during which time she has supported many Modern Apprentices and Foundation Apprentices herself along with workforce development candidates.   

Pat has developed her knowledge to understand specific Language Development Disorders such as Dyslexia, inspired by personal experience, which has helped develop individual plans for apprentices.  

She said:

“I’ve worked with three different individuals with dyslexia and their sense of pride when they completed their apprenticeships was terrific to see.  I have a personal interest in it because I have a son who is dyslexic, so I have seen how he has struggled, and I didn’t want to see others struggling when they are trying so hard.  We work with the individual candidates with dyslexia – some are keen to tell you at the beginning, but others don’t and so you may discover it and support it as you go along.  Whatever help they need we will provide, which often means involving other professionals such as learning support at school for any Foundation Apprentice pupils. Ultimately, we do everything we can to make it easier for them to understand, to achieve and to get the best out of it.”   

Pat’s achievements have led her to be nominated as a finalist at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards on 8 March, in the Apprentice Instructor of the Year category sponsored by Shell.

Winners will be revealed at the awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland at 7pm tonight (8 March). Find out more about the award finalists and the event by visiting the (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) website.

Any individual in the Western Isles who would like to find out more about local apprenticeship opportunities is encouraged to email: