We have been catching up with a number of our apprentices to celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016.
Four apprentices working in different companies in Ayrshire agreed to be filmed in their workplace to share what attracted them down the apprenticeship route and how they are finding the balance between working on site and studying at Ayrshire College.
Today we present Chloe Greig, who is a first year apprentice with GSK in Irvine.
“Pretty much from the get-go, for me, it was all about engineering.”
Chloe regales us with colourful accounts of helping her Dad build a car when she was just six years old, as we discuss her chosen career.
A first year manufacturing apprentice with GSK, Chloe works on site two days a week and studies HNC Manufacturing at the college every Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
“I’ve always been thinking outside of the box – “how was that built?” Chloe said.
“Once I sat my exams I realised that the subjects I got good grades in were the subjects that you needed for this this kind of job. I was getting high grades in craft and design, graphic communication and physics. So I thought I might as well put my talent into something that would give back to me.
“I wanted to do something completely different, I didn’t want to do what everyone else did by going to university.
“The benefits of an apprenticeship are that if you concentrate and stick in doing the correct work, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job if you have the correct behaviours and if your company has a landing role for you. You’ve got a wide open door straight into industry.”
GSK is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world and Chloe is delighted to be working for them.
When asked what her favourite part of her working life is, Chloe said “I’m working with people who have been in the job for 30+ years. As an apprentice, every single person I’ve worked with has been very encouraging and they’ve gave me the best advice for my job. I love learning from them.
“My life goal is to become one of those people who helps the apprentice. I’d love to work at GSK for the rest of my life – even if that involves moving from place to place.”
For anyone unaware of what being a manufacturing apprentice involves, here’s Chloe’s summary.
“Basically I work from 8:30am to 4:30pm and I start by getting my PPE on which is my overalls, hard hat, boots, glasses, ear plugs, etc.
“On a normal day, I’ll be looking after the machines that make the powder from the crystalliser.
“As an apprentice you do a rotation through the site so there’s different places you can work, and you get training in each of them. It’s really eye-opening because I had no idea what it took to make the medication that we sell. It’s amazing to be a part of that process.
“I’m also a STEM ambassador which is part of my apprenticeship – so I go out to schools to get young people into engineering.”
Chloe was one of the only females who showed an interest in engineering when she herself was at secondary school.
Her school, Loudoun Academy, was extremely supportive of Chloe and would “always go that step further to push me”.
Her decision to join GSK was fuelled when she saw a poster at Ayrshire College during her Performing Engineering Operations course.
Chloe said “I didn’t have any idea what GSK did at all. But I saw ‘apprenticeship’ in bold letters and ran head first at it. I don’t regret it at all – applying for the job is probably the best decision I’ve made in my life.”
Last year we interviewed another GSK apprentice, Tammy Niven. Here’s what she had to say about her role.