Meet the apprentice – Craig Stobbs, Ayrshire Precision

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

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First up is 18-year-old Craig Stobbs from Drongan, who is an Apprentice CNC Machinist with Ayrshire Precision.

Ayrshire Precision is a sub-contractor for the oil and gas industry. They are based in Low Coylton and produce components worldwide and have a customer base as far as Malaysia and Australia.

Craig got his opportunity there through his own perseverance. When still at secondary school, he enquired about work experience during the Easter break. After that went well, he was invited back in over the summer.

Now he’s in the second year of an apprenticeship following a year studying at Ayrshire College.

Craig said “I’d initially asked for some work experience and they were happy enough with how I performed. I was keen to start an apprenticeship after that, as I wasn’t interested in university and thought the quicker I could get into a job, the better.

“Ayrshire Precision is great to work for because they evaluate how you are doing and allow you to do things by yourself when they feel you’re up to the task. It’s the best way to learn for me – to learn by doing.

“I found the first year at the College pretty good. Obviously I needed to understand the basics before working with the machines here.”

“I’d definitely recommended the apprenticeship to anyone who is not interested in university.  For anyone still at school, I’d stress that maths is important for this role.”

Chris Hepburn is the Managing Director of Ayrshire Precision and keeps a close eye on Craig’s progress.

Chris said “We’re pretty happy with the way he’s progressing. He’s probably a good bit further ahead of where we would expect him to be at this stage. He is still supervised but we do feel we can leave him to complete tasks on his own.

“We tend to take apprentices every year – sometimes one, sometimes two. We aim to grow our own skilled tradespeople. The apprenticeship route is absolutely the way to go for our business, we’ve got to put the time and money into apprentices.

“Craig was very proactive. He took the initiative to approach me for work experience, and he learnt quickly. Even on his days off college in the first year, he would come in to get to know the people and the business.”

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