Harper Macleod was delighted to be awarded the Promoting Diversity - Large Employer of the Year Award at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards last night.
The event was the highlight of a busy Scottish Apprenticeship Week, with a theme of 'Business Backing Talent'.
As a business that has seen 10% of its people join the firm through Modern Apprenticeships, and that has kept more than 75% of its apprentices in permanent positions, Harper Macleod is seen as a model for others to follow by those involved in apprenticeships.
Harper Macleod Chief Executive Martin Darroch and Beth Currie, who came through the firm's apprenticeship programme, were filmed and photographed ahead of the big night.
Martin Darroch said: "This award is significant as it reflects our culture, as developing young talent and seeing them grow within Harper Macleod is at the heart of our business. It really is a honour to have this recognised and it is testament to the hard work behind the scenes – with the organisations we work with on apprenticeship schemes, with our own learning and development team, and the most important contribution being made by the talented young people.
"We first launched our apprenticeship scheme in 2009, and since then we have created opportunities for 69 modern apprentices. The last seven years has created a significant increase in the opportunities available to apprentices with 42 young people joining the business.
"The benefits that we experience are wide and varied. In terms of culture, the young adults that join the business bring enthusiasm and just a different approach, which is critical to a business that has an outward, modern looking view. We're very proud of our market leading retention rates and that's evidenced within our modern apprenticeship group with 75% retention of all those that have joined the business. We're delighted equally to see the growth of all of those individuals, and to see them being promoted through the business."
Announcing the award, the organisers said: "The winner of this award is committed to supporting apprentices from all backgrounds to reach their full potential. They work with their learning provider and develop the young workforce to open up apprenticeship opportunities for Scotland's young people, with particular focus on supporting those from more deprived areas into the world of work. And, through collaborating with equalities organisations, they support apprentices with additional support needs to succeed and progress in their careers.
"The firm also operates an equality diversity and inclusion group which delivers awareness, campaigns and events, and has positively impacted gender balance and diversity across their apprenticeships."
HM case study
Skills Development Scotland has also published a case study on what they called the Harper Macleod's "incredible support of apprenticeships". You can read it here: Apprenticeships support staff retention for legal firm Harper MacLeod | Skills Development Scotland
You can find out more about the apprenticeship scheme in Scotland here.