Aberlour Futures, an SQA Accredited Centre providing Vocational Qualifications and Training for the Early Learning and Childcare workforce in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, has enabled 65 Early Learning and Childcare practitioners to achieve childcare qualifications. The learners were presented with awards in Skills for work Early Education and Childcare National 5 in Social Services and Children & Young People at a ceremony on Wednesday 21st of June in Aberdeen. SallyAnn Kelly, Chief Executive, Aberlour, said “In line with the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy ‘Developing the Young Workforce’, a group of Students from St. Machar Academy have achieved Skills for Work in Early Education and Childcare. The Skills for Work Programme is more important now than ever before as the increase in early learning and childcare services will require a major expansion of the workforce. This programme is an excellent entry point for young people coming into the sector at this exciting time.” Declan Hoskins, St. Machar Academy, said: “I have learned so many new skills during this course and it has helped me to decide on my choice of career”. The ceremony also celebrated a group of Modern Apprentices who achieved a qualification in Social Services, Children and Young People. Aberlour Futures not only work with young people but also those who are more experienced and already working with children who have not had chance to gain mandatory qualifications. Gaining qualifications whilst at work ensures that people currently employed can maintain their jobs and develop their careers. The Aberlour Futures Aberdeen service is funded by Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Skills Development Scotland. Case Study Twins Megan and Sophie Gill completed the Skills for Work Early Education Intermediate 2 (National 5) delivered by Aberlour Futures at Oldmachar Academy, Aberdeen in May 2014. Both went on a work placement arranged by Aberlour Futures to Bright Horizon at St Swithin Nursery. Megan and Sophie left school in May 2014 and Megan applied for a Modern Apprentice place with St Swithin Nursery. She successfully achieved her SVQ in Social Services Children & Young People Award level 3 with Aberlour Futures and she successfully achieved this in August 2016, she continues to be a key member of staff at St Swithin Nursery. Sophie went to college and studied for an NC Childcare Learning & Development before securing employment with Donview Nursery, Aberdeen in July 2015. She applied for a modern Apprenticeship place and is current studying for an SVQ in Social Services Children & Young People Award level 3 with Aberlour Futures Aberdeen.