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A University of the West of Scotland student has become the first Graduate Apprentice (GA) to gain a university honours degree in Scotland.

Kade McArthur, who was part of the University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Physical Sciences, has successfully completed his Graduate Apprenticeship in BSc Hons IT: Software Development, and has graduated from UWS with a first-class honours degree.

During his Graduate Apprenticeship, Kade was working with South Ayrshire Council but has now secured a role as a Compliance Systems Graduate with Jacobs, a global provider of technical, professional, and scientific services.

Kade (24) from Maybole in Ayrshire, collected his degree, alongside 157 of his peers, at the UWS graduation ceremony on the morning of Thursday 8th November at the Hamilton Town House. Right Honourable Dame Elish Angiolini, UWS Chancellor presided over the ceremony with Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of UWS giving the main address.

Commenting on his time at UWS, Kade, who was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Young Software Engineer of the Year Award 2018 for his work on optical character recognition and workflow automation, said: “I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to undertake the Graduate Apprenticeship programme at UWS - it was a fantastic experience and has enabled me to take my career to the next level. 

“I can’t speak highly enough of the programme and everyone involved. The level of trust, independence, but at the same time, support I was given has and will continue to shape my future professional career. From being nominated for the YSE award to maintaining high grades, I have no doubt that without being part of this programme, I wouldn’t be in the position I find myself today.”

UWS Principal Professor Craig Mahoney said: “A huge congratulations must go to Kade for becoming Scotland’s first Graduate Apprentice to gain a university honours degree, we are thrilled he earned his qualification at UWS and are incredibly proud of his fantastic achievement. Kade is proof that there are many routes into University, and everyone’s journey is different.

"We are thrilled Kade earned his qualification at UWS and are incredibly proud of his fantastic achievement. He is proof that there are many routes into University, and everyone’s journey is different."
UWS Principal Prof Craig Mahoney

“With three out of four employers in Scotland reporting critical skill shortages affecting their productivity and growth, Graduate Apprenticeship programmes have never been more important. Combining academic learning with real-time practical experience in the workplace, UWS’ Graduate Apprenticeship programmes deliver industry-relevant skills and qualifications which enable our students to apply their learning to industry and have a real, immediate impact.”

Graduate Apprenticeships are rolled out across the country by Skills Development Scotland. University of the West of Scotland works closely with the organisation to deliver its own Graduate Apprenticeship programmes.

The beauty of the Graduate Apprenticeship programme is that it recognises all prior learning, and has flexible entry and exit points. Kade is a strong example of a Graduate Apprentice who was able to join the programme at a time most suitable for him, and has used work-based learning to progress in his career.

For more information on the programmes available at UWS, visit here.

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