Meet the apprentice – Tammy Niven, GSK

Tammy Niven is a manufacturing apprentice at GSK in Irvine and currently attends college five days a week to study an HNC in manufacturing. She will be onsite at GSK in June.

What made you apply for your apprenticeship?

Well, in fifth year at school I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I saw the GSK apprenticeships advertised and they were really appealing to me. As I looked into it, manufacturing was the field that looked right for me so I applied for that. It’s ideal as you’re still furthering your education as well.

A manufacturing apprenticeship at GSK is much more than working on a production line, which is what made it so attractive to me. You’re part of a really important process.

Why’s Ayrshire College a right fit for you?

Ayrshire College is easily accessible and the lecturers are great, there’s a great sense of community. The lecturers want to help you because everyone’s got a common goal in wanting to pass their courses. If you need help you just ask and they’ll help you.

How are you finding the course at Ayrshire College?

I’m really enjoying the course especially physics, although it is really hard, but I think the challenge is what I like about it.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My plans for the future are that I definitely want to stay with GSK because it’s such a massive successful company. I’ll complete my manufacturing course and hopefully complete my apprenticeship and get a job at the end of it.

What are your most looking forward to about coming to GSK?

I’m looking forward to the hands-on work at GSK because I’ve not had much taste of that so far. We do practical stuff at the College but it will be great to find out what they actually do at GSK, so I’m looking forward to that.

Brian Surgenor, Training Manager at GSK, explained why apprentices are so important for the company.

Why are apprentices important for GSK?

It gives youngsters a good breeding into the industry and brings apprentices on. We bring them in, we train them up to our standards on our systems and our safety, and we can then plan for the future by slotting them into jobs once jobs become available.

How do you tailor the apprenticeships to get the best out of them?

It’s a three year apprenticeship, so we send our apprentices to the College for the first year to do their HNC. Then we bring them into day release for City and Guilds, and then do process and safety training. After the three years they’re actually ready to slot into a job if there’s a job available for them.

How do you monitor the progress of your apprentices?

We go the College every four weeks to get a progress report. If there are any problems with anything at all, the College contacts us and we set up meetings.

How is the relationship with Ayrshire College?

The direct link is really important, because we get a heads-up straight away if there’s a problem with anything. We’re developing a good relationship with the College as they give us really good feedback which helps us plan for the future.

What are the plans going forward for GSK?

We’ve got 37 apprentices on the plant at the moment, and we’ve just started 3 who start college in September and another 7 starting in the plant. And we’re taking on another three next year. So it’s pretty rosy here – we’re looking to take apprentices on every year if we can.

Hear more from Tammy and Brian in this video.


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