It’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week! This week, we will be sharing the stories of young apprentices working throughout Scotland to celebrate the opportunities available to young people, and the young people who shine in these positions!
Nanayakkara, 17, lives in Dunblane and goes to Dunblane High School. The sixth year pupil is doing a Foundation Apprenticeship in Financial Services as a subject choice in school. Foundation Apprenticeships give young people the chance to go to college to learn and undertake a work placement as one of their school subject choices in fifth and sixth year. The Foundation Apprenticeship typically takes two years to complete, and results in a qualification similar to a Higher. Once a week, Nanayakkara is on placement with financial firm Prudential in Stirling, and would like to do a Modern Apprenticeship upon leaving school next year.
Which young Scot inspires you?
I always wanted to be the young person to look up to, and I am not afraid say that I’m an inspiration for myself, because no one will ever support and push me towards my goals more than myself.
What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
There is always an opportunity for change. We have a highly accessible education system. We can all change our career path to better our lives at any given time, which is not a chance many people around the world get.
What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
There has always been a sense of disconnect between the generations. I want them to know that our world has evolved from theirs just as it always does from generation to generation, and although our methods have changed, we are all working towards the same goal. The goal to develop our species and our planet, whether that’s technologically, medically, economically or socially, to leave behind a better planet for our future.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement is helping create and be a part of the LGBT Society at Dunblane High School. The society has helped create a support system for the youth by the youth in Dunblane and although it is only in its second year, it has already helped many people, including myself.
What would you most like to achieve in the future?
My main career goal would be to work in cinematic arts. I’ve always wanted to make documentaries, movies and other productions. As a teenager we are always told that we should have a political and social opinion, but every time we express a view, we are told that we are just children and it is not our place. A lot of young people don’t bother to be informed about the world as a result – I’d like to show them that that shouldn’t be the case. That we need to gain all this knowledge in time for us to change our world for the better and not let it continue on unchecked paths.
What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
My biggest advice to everyone is that no matter what anyone says; keep your ambitions and dreams alive. Because the world will always try to stop you. It might be your parents, your school or even your friends. If there’s something you want, need or love, you have to take that chance, even if it’s a wildcard. If you want to be an astronaut, a singer, an actor, an artist or even just happy, go for it! Because we were always told as children that we would be loved no matter what choices we make for our future and yet it is only true as long as we make the choices that other people want from us. I’ve always been told that life is short but it is only short for those who have not truly lived in a life they have loved. I for one refuse to look back on a life of regret wondering about the choices I could have made. We have the chance to fight and change this world for the better, to leave our planet a safer and more accepting place for future generations.
If Nanayakkara’s story has inspired you, why not share it on social media using the hashtag #MyStory365 or visit the ‘Get Involved’ section to share your own story!