Owen Forrest: Modern apprentices mean business
This week marks Scottish Apprenticeship Week. Organised by Skills Development Scotland, it is a unique opportunity to draw attention to and recognise the important role modern apprentices play in the businesses and other organisations in which they work.
The theme this year is ‘Apprenticeships are Changing’ and during this week hundreds of activities and events are taking place throughout Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife, encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and inspiring countless young people to think about apprenticeships for their future.
In August 2016 I started my three-year modern apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with Anglian Water Business (AWB) in Edinburgh. Having previously worked in a customer-focused role with the Co-op, I decided to apply for a modern apprenticeship as I felt that it would give me opportunities to learn, earn and progress all at the same time - a win-win!
I currently spend three days a week at Fife College, the other two days are spent with AWB’s connection engineering team and I split my time between office-based and on-site activity. In my third year, after finishing my course and gaining a National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, I will be full time with AWB.
By combining learning with real on the job experience through my Modern Apprenticeship I have the unique ability to gain valuable experience while studying and have the opportunity to apply new skills directly to the job.
I particularly enjoy how varied my work at AWB is. One day I will be carrying out technical assessments of designs and creating quotes and the next I will be meeting customers and keeping up to date with the latest standards.
The company has encouraged me to share my skills and learning with other members of staff, which makes me feel that I am making a real impact.
I’ve learned so much in my first six months and would whole heartedly recommend a modern apprenticeship to anyone who wants to learn, earn and gain valuable on-the-job experience.
Owen Forrest is 20 years old and is one of two apprentices currently employed by Anglian Water Business