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Modern apprentices: Archie coins it in; How a keen interest in history led one young enthusiast into a job where he handles some of the world's rarest coins.

SCOTLAND'S oldest museum is the venue for a unique Modern Apprenticeship.

Archie Henderson is an apprentice at the Hunterian Museum within Glasgow University and deals with the museum's world-famous coin collection.

Archie left Paisley Grammar School in June 2000 after completing his higher exams, aged 16.

Soon after, he became aware of the unique opportunity at the Hunterian Museum. He was keen on history at school so the chance to work in a museum whilst receiving a full-time wage was, he said, ``a golden opportunity''.

``I'm believed to be the only Modern Apprentice working in numismatics (the study of coins and medals) in the UK, and it's great to hold such an exceptional position and be able to work with some of the world's most valuable and rare coins.

``Throughout July 2002 I even got the chance to hold my very own exhibition in the coin gallery.''

Archie's working towards an SVQ level 3 in Cultural Heritage.

Dr Sally-Anne Coupar, Curator of Coins at the Hunterian Museum and Archie's supervisor, said: ``We are absolutely delighted with Archie, who has risen to the challenge of working in a very special environment.

``Each day we work with the coins of some of the most famous people and places in history.

Coinage has been in existence for the last 2500 years so good general knowledge is essential as is initiative, perseverance and enthusiasm.

``By the time Archie has completed his apprenticeship he will have the necessary qualifications to enter university if he wishes, as well as a fantastic and original CV which will catch the eye of any employer.''

As well as working on the coins, Archie has also done such diverse things as help move the museum's resident mummy, the Lady Shep-En-Hor, and handled live snakes.

Alison Fenton, Training Manager with responsibility for the Modern Apprenticeship programme within the University of Glasgow says: ``Since Archie joined the university, he has developed into a confident, articulate young man who is very enthusiastic about his work. This is what the Modern Apprenticeship programme is all about.''

It's also a proud moment for Scots girl Emma Scott who has become the first person in the country to complete the Scottish Modern Apprenticeship in Personnel Support.

Emma, 22, works as a personnel assistant with North Ayrshire Leisure in Irvine.

To complete her Modern Apprenticeship, Emma achieved SVQ level 3 in Personnel Support and the CIPD Certificate in Personnel Practice.

She said: ``I am delighted to have completed my Modern Apprenticeship. It was really interesting and helped me understand my job better.'' Emma completed the Modern Apprenticeship in just over a year and now hopes to undertake SVQ level 4 in Personnel.

North Ayrshire Leisure is a non-profit making organisation which manages the leisure facilities of North Ayrshire Council.

The organisation has a policy of encouraging the professional development of its entire staff.

Chief Executive, Frank Keddilty, was quick to praise Emma's achievement.

He said: ``Emma is a real asset to the organisation. She has worked very hard to get her Modern Apprenticeship.'' The Personnel Support Modern Apprenticeship was introduced in Scotland in September 1998. Fewer than 20 apprentices have undertaken this apprenticeship to date.

One of the main reasons for this is that employers have preferred to train staff in more generic apprenticeships such as Business Administration and Customer Service.

However, Kim Goddard from Management Introductions, who runs the course, believes that this will change in the future. She says: ``For staff working in a personnel role, the Modern Apprenticeship in Personnel Support is ideal.

``It is much more relevant and useful than other general apprenticeships and we have seen a lot of interest in it recently from organisations.''

North Ayrshire Leisure: www.naleisure.co.uk Management Introductions: www.manintros.co.uk Employment National Training Organisation: www.empnto.co.uk Modern Apprenticeships: www.modernapprenticeships.com

CAPTION(S):

ACHIEVING THE BEST: A first for; Emma Scott above, in Personnel Support and Archie, top and right, is believed to be the only Modern Apprentice studying coins
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 2, 2003
Words:668
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