A TEENAGER from Bathgate has won at this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship awards from Skills Development Scotland.
Connor Waldron received the Award at the CGI sponsored event in the National Museum of Scotland, on November 3.
The West Lothian Council employee said: “I really can’t believe it. It is amazing and I can’t tell people how much the Foundation Apprenticeship has meant to me. It has been incredible and I would say to anyone to go for it. It will open up so many opportunities for them, in the same way it has done for me.”
Before starting fourth year at St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, West Lothian, Connor signed up for a Foundation Apprenticeship in engineering.
He gave up his Friday afternoons and time during the summer and Easter holidays to go to West Lothian College.
“When I was at school I thought I didn’t need a qualification to show people that I can work hard. Then I was really surprised when I got to go to college. I felt it was a make-or-break situation for me, but really wanted to make a go of it,” he said.
His commitment has paid off because Connor now spends his days repairing heavy plant and lorries as a HGV Vehicle Maintenance Modern Apprentice with West Lothian Council.
The Bathgate teenager was one of 700 applicants for the Modern Apprenticeship vacancy. Connor’s depot manager Joe Drew believes the Foundation Apprenticeship training has given him the skills and confidence to “hit the ground running” and his colleagues are impressed by how quickly the 17-year- old is learning.
A normal working day for Connor involves replacing tyres, fixing brakes and making other repairs on council vehicles from vans to refuse lorries. When he started, he admitted that he could barely lift some of the heavier items in the workshops, but now he feels a real part of the team.
“The people in the team have been great and there’s real satisfaction in what we do. I really enjoy it.
“The best bit of my job is that when you have fixed something on a truck or car and then you see someone driving off it in and you think, I fixed that,” said the teenager.
West Lothian College’s Depute Head of Centre Helen Young said: “Connor’s passion and enthusiasm shone through and I could tell that he had the potential at an early stage.
“The Foundation Apprenticeship training gave Connor and the rest of the group the opportunity to get skills, then go forward and get employment.”