Meet the apprentice – Kirsty Harvey, Woodward

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 Kirsty Harvey, who is an apprentice with Woodward.


Kirsty Harvey 1

When Kirsty was at school, she didn’t know what she wanted to do.

Once she left, she started working as an outdoor activities instructor teaching children how to climb and abseil, but she quickly got to a point where she wasn’t happy in her job.

“That’s when I decided to go back to education and do something mechanical” Kirsty explains.

“The workings of things like cars and motorbikes really interested me. Then, when I was at college, the opportunity came up to do a work experience at Woodward. I jumped at the chance of it. I went there for two days and thoroughly enjoyed it, so when I got offered the apprenticeship I accepted straight away.”

Kirsty started at Ayrshire College on a Performing Engineering Operations course, where she covered things like hand skills and programming. Picking up new skills was a major plus point for Kirsty when looking at apprenticeship options.

She said “I like the fact that, as an apprentice, you’re always learning as you work. Personally, I’m not great at sitting in a classroom. I like the fact that I’m earning good money while I’m in a learning environment.”

Every Tuesday Kirsty comes to the college’s Kilmarnock campus as part of her HNC Mechanical Engineering course. The rest of the time is spent at Woodward in Prestwick.

Kirsty said “It’s good having a mix of work and college. I’m in with other apprentices who work with different employers so it’s good to see what they’re getting up to.

“At work I like being in the workshop where we strip down the controls and rebuild them again. Sometimes we have investigations on them if something’s gone wrong while they’ve been on wing. If they’re in for a repair they’ll be tested on the test stand before they come to the workshop.

Kirsty Harvey 2

“Once they come there we’ll strip them down, clean the parts and assess what’s wrong. Then we’ll build them back up again. They’ll always go back on the test stand before they go back to the customers.

“It’s quite strange knowing that what you’re working on is going to be used on an aeroplane – and you might be on that aeroplane! But I definitely get satisfaction from that.”

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