Every year for Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we like to showcase Ayrshire apprentices who are at various stages of their learning.
The final apprentices we would like to introduce you to this year are Eoin Macdonald and Jack Quinn, first year apprentices with Chevron Aircraft Maintenance.
Eoin and Jack both started under similar circumstances. They got their first taste of engineering at Ayrshire College before applying for apprenticeships with Chevron Aircraft Maintenance, the newest industry giant to come to Prestwick.
Jack said “I started at Ayrshire College on a short course – the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course with Composites. Once I finished that I started seeing posters around the College advertising opportunities for apprenticeships and I was encouraged to apply for the Chevron apprenticeship.”
Eoin said “Yeah I was pretty much the same as Jack in that I started on the PEO at the College. We were on separate courses – I did the one-year course whereas Jack did the six-month one. The College sent out emails advising us of apprenticeships that were coming up. I applied for Chevron and luckily enough I managed to get it.
“I’ve always thought an apprenticeship was the right thing to do. I knew I could’ve went to university and just got my education, but here you get your hands-on skills as well as your education.”
Jack added “I’ve always liked this industry. My Grandpa worked at Rolls-Royce and it really interested me. The hands-on aspect of an apprenticeship appealed to me. My brother went to university but I knew I didn’t want to do that. I did know I wanted some sort of education so an apprenticeship was definitely the right route to go down.”
The two Chevron apprentices are on site every Thursday and Friday, following three days on the NC Aeronautical Engineering course at college.
It’s an arrangement that Eoin and Jack enjoy.
Jack said “I really like the balance. I feel like I’m learning a lot. I didn’t really enjoy school but my apprenticeship is a much better experience because it’s combining education with work.”
Eoin said “It’s a great workforce in here, everyone’s easy to get along with. I’d encourage any pupils to gain some hand skills by getting an apprenticeship. Going to college beforehand – for the PEO course – allowed me to gain a basic understanding of the industry and the hand skills required. It’s brilliant so far – it’s enjoyable plus I’m learning. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
When Eoin and Jack are working with Chevron, they are assisted by a mentor. Teddy Ward, a B1 Engineer at Chevron Aircraft Maintenance, is one of the mentors the pair works with.
Teddy said “I’m a point of contact really so if they’ve got any problems or questions they can come to me.
“Jack and Eoin have shown they’re keen to learn – they’re always asking questions and you can see that they’re interested in their work. They’re getting involved in all of the jobs here.
“I think that’s one of the best things about this place – there’s different aircraft which involve different jobs all of the time. Ranging from fitting panels to big structure work. If there’s anything that’s a bit different to them we run them through it a couple of times and explain what we’re doing to give them a broader understanding of what’s going on.
“It’s great to get some young blood into the company. We always need new people coming into the industry and hopefully they can progress through the company.”