Re-visit the apprentice – Jack Lynes, Billy Bowie Tankers

For Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2015, we dropped into Billy Bowie Tankers in Kilmarnock to catch up with apprentice, Jack Lynes and Fleet Operations Manager, Douglas Bowie.

Jack’s interview was part of a series of video case studies that we produced to showcase the talents of Ayrshire College apprentices in a range of sectors.

Over the course of this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we’ll be re-publishing a selection of those interviews and catching up with the apprentices to see how they have progressed.

Original interview published on 19 May 2015


19-year-old Jack Lynes is coming to the end of his first year as an apprentice at Billy Bowie Tankers in Kilmarnock. He currently attends Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock campus on a day release arrangement studying Level 2 Car Mechanics (Heavy).

While he was at Stewarton Academy, Jack knew he wasn’t suited to working in an office environment. He knew he wanted to work with his hands but wasn’t sure about what work he should be doing. So, last year he decided to attend a jobs fair at the Palace Theatre where he gravitated towards the Billy Bowie Tankers stall.

“Once I got talking to the guys from Billy Bowie, I felt this apprenticeship was definitely the right thing for me.” Jack said.

And, for Douglas Bowie, Fleet Operations Manager at Billy Bowie Tankers, the feeling was mutual.

“It was a very straightforward process getting an apprentice. We went to a jobs fair with the idea of wanting an apprentice and that got the wheels running. Jack approached us and said he was unemployed and looking for a start as an apprentice.

“After that, we spoke to the College and East Ayrshire Council and between us we managed to put a package together and offer Jack a job.”

So, what made Jack feel an apprentice was the right route for him to take?

“The apprenticeship’s right for me because it’s the right mix between learning at college and getting the practical experience in the workplace. Some things can go wrong in the workplace and jobs often take longer than they do at college.

“I think the apprenticeship route to reach your goal further on in life is the best way to do it. You’re getting the papers behind you by going to college, and you’re getting the benefit of being in the workplace.”

Jack’s boss Douglas said, “Jack has come on leaps and bounds in his first year. When he first came to us, he could hardly hold a spanner. A year later, we’ve got him working with minimum supervision.”

Jack’s long term ambition is to become the boss of a garage. Perhaps one day we will see Jack Lynes Tankers driving on the streets of Ayrshire! For now, hear more from Jack and his employer in this video.

Update one year on

Jack is still with the company and has ‘come on leaps and bounds’ since last year, according to Douglas Bowie, Fleet Operations Manager. During the year, Billy Bowie Tankers expanded with the arrival of a new apprentice, 17-year-old Dylan Allan who was taken on as a welder. Dylan has made a similarly successful impact halfway through his first year.


Dylan said “The guys here are great to work with. They really know what they’re doing so if you’re ever stuck you just ask. Even Jack, the second year apprentice, is always willing to help.

“I’m at the college one day a week learning the basics, and then putting them into action here the rest of the time. I feel like I’m progressing as I get used to the machines and the equipment. It’s not just welding I’m doing, there are mechanical aspects, so I’m getting a good grasp of everything here.”

Douglas added “No task appears to be a problem for Dylan. Although he obviously still needs guidance, he is a hard worker who does what you require.

“Choosing the right person is a very big consideration when you take on an apprentice. We’re only a small team, just four of us, so anyone who’s brought in needs to be able to gel with them. They have to be a good team player and confident enough to ask questions, and Dylan certainly is.”

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