Meet the Apprentice – Eva Mackie, EGGER (UK) Limited, Barony Plant

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

Last up this week, we have Eva Mackie from EGGER (UK) Limited.


2.JPGEva was a dental nurse for four years before becoming an Environmental Laboratory Technician Apprentice with EGGER (UK) Limited at the Barony plant in Auchinleck, Ayrshire.

She began her apprenticeship in August 2016 and is delighted to have made the decision to change career paths when she did.

Eva, 22, said: “I just fancied a total change. I was bored, I didn’t like my job anymore and when I saw this opportunity I thought ‘I like the sound of that’.

“After my first day here, I remember going home and thinking to myself ‘oh no, what have I done’. From the second day onwards, however, that completely changed.  I’ve learned so much and would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”

EGGER (UK) Limited’s, Barony plant is a modern, hi-tech chipboard plant which employs over 115 people.

The company has a well-developed apprenticeship scheme, and recruits mechanical and electrical apprentices annually.  However, this is the first time they have employed a laboratory apprentice.

Eva said; “Everyone on the site knows that I’m the first apprentice in the lab, so they always go out of their way to help me. I can ask anybody anything.

“My job involves testing the different surfaces, which I test for moistures, densities and sieves. We get samples every day from the water outlet at the front of the factory, which we are testing for ammonium, formaldehyde, COD and phosphate. We run these tests to ensure we are within the regulations with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

“I see this as a long term career with a stable and sustainable company. There are plenty of opportunities to develop, gain extra training and progress my career.”

Eva is supervised by Wendy Cumming, Quality and Environmental Controller, who Eva calls “a massive help”.

Wendy said; “Eva is a breath of fresh air who is keen and quick at learning, which is important in this job as no two days are ever the same. It’s good to see another female in the production area too.

“Apprenticeships are very important. This is the first year we have had a lab apprentice and it is great to see the Barony apprenticeship scheme developing. In order to support succession planning we need the apprentices of today to undertake our specialist roles of tomorrow, to be more diverse and ultimately they are the future of EGGER.”

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part five

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day five of the series, and Catriona is heading to the College Development Network Marketing awards tonight.


This morning I met with Gordon Hunt, who is the Vice Chair of the Ayrshire College Foundation which funds my apprenticeship. The Ayrshire College Foundation (ACF) exists to support Ayrshire-based projects that provide educational opportunities for all age groups.

Jennifer, who is the College’s Digital Marketing Officer, and myself have been working on a new website for the ACF, you can access at http://ayrshirecollegefoundation.weebly.com/

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The purpose of today’s meeting is to interview Gordon for my blog series “Meet the Trustee”. The last trustee I interviewed was Margaret Harper who is the Depute Head of Grange Academy. She told me a bit about her background and why she got involved with the Ayrshire College Foundation and you can read that blog at: https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/guest-post-margaret-harper-ayrshire-college-foundation-trustee/

I arrive back at the office in the afternoon and begin working on some of my apprenticeship learning outcomes. This week I’ve been working on a unit called “The Principles of Marketing and Evaluation.” I’ve been gathering evidence to present to my line manager Shelagh, and hopefully this that will be me finished this unit.

Tonight the marketing team is travelling to Edinburgh for the College Development Network Marketing Awards where Ayrshire College is a finalist in the PR & Communications and Digital Marketing categories, as well as being shortlisted twice in the Events category.

In preparation for our night at the awards ceremony, the marketing team has booked in to the College’s training salon for blow-dries and hair-ups. It is great having these amazing facilities on campus and both the training salon and the You. Salon are open to students, staff and the public. You can more information on Facebook @yousalon.

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Remember to check back tomorrow to see how we get on at the CDN awards!

 

Meet the Apprentice – Martin Frew, Wallace McDowall Ltd

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

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Earlier today we heard from Colin McEwan of Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, next up is Martin Frew from Wallace McDowall Ltd.


Wallace McDowall Ltd, based in Monkton, was established over 47 years ago as a sheet metal fabricator. Over the years, they have grown into one of the UK’s leading sub-contract engineering companies.

Martin, 19 from Kilwinning, is a Welder and Fabricator Apprentice at Wallace McDowall Ltd.

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Martin said “I was at college last year doing the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course, which was a good head start in this industry.  The course covered a few aspects of the engineering industry, and I got to know what I enjoyed doing the most, which turned out to be welding.

After I had finished the course, I started applying for jobs that were advertised at the College which ended up with me becoming a Welder and Fabricator apprentice.

First thing in the morning, the supervisor gives me a job spec and I just get on with it.  I enjoy being an apprentice. I like being left to myself to get on with the job.  I’m in college one day a week, and the rest of the time I’m working.  I mostly work on my own, but if I need help I can go to supervisors or they’ll talk me through the job.

Getting hands-on experience is definitely the main benefit of being an apprentice.  There’s so many people I work with that can pass on their knowledge or give advice when I need it, so it’s good to have all of that to hand.  For me, it’s an easier way to learn.

Just being able to get my trade papers is great.  I’ve not decided where I want to be when I finish here, but it’ll definitely be a career in welding.”

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Meet the Apprentice – Colin McEwan, Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems

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

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Next up is 18-year-old Colin McEwan from Saltcoats who is in the first year of his apprenticeship with Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, based in Prestwick.


IMG_7933Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems is an independent designer, manufacturer, and service provider of control solutions for the aerospace and industrial markets.

Colin said “I’m a hands-on kind of person and was always interested in going down the engineering route. I found out about Woodward through a school visit at Ardrossan Academy in fourth year.  I kept in contact and asked if I could arrange some work experience, which I did a few months later.

The week’s work experience was really useful as I received a lot of feedback. The best advice I received about how to get into the engineering industry was to do the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course at Ayrshire College.  Just as I was about to finish the PEO course, I contacted Woodward.  As it turned out, I got a trial, then got started as an assembly apprentice and have now been here for 7 months.

At the moment I am getting trained on working the controls, so that means stripping them down and building them back up.  On a typical day, we have a team meeting with the section.  I find out what I’ll be working on and who I’m working with.  I have specific one-to-one training every day and I’ll stay in each section for about 8 weeks, before moving onto the next.  It’s really good training at Woodward as you get the chance to find out about every part of the industry.  In my second year, I’ll be in a more specific section, the first year is more general.

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I would definitely like to stay at Woodward once I complete my apprenticeship and learn as much as I can.  It’s a fairly small company and I’d like to try to develop my skills here.

I love the amount of hands-on work I get to do here, everyone’s great to work with too.  I hope to develop into the engineering side of things in the aviation industry later on, so would go to university, and eventually work my way up in the aviation industry.

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part four

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day four of the series, and Catriona is working on a photo shoot with Guy Hinks visiting Kilwinning and Irvine campuses.

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Today I am working alongside photographer Guy Hinks to capture images for some artwork to display around the College. I have been briefed by Lynn, our graphic designer on what kind of images she would like to get from today. Guy and I are going to visit various areas in the College today including, Early Years, Social Science, Environmental Science, Business/Administration, HIVE, Supported Education and Hair, Beauty, Make-Up and Complementary Therapies.

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Prior to today, I had to email lecturers to arrange the photo shoot because I had to ensure that the students knew we were coming. I also had to print enough model release forms to give to students so that we have permission to use their photos. Finally, I drew up a timetable for each area. It’s important to stick to a tight schedule to ensure we are able to visit all areas we have in our plan.

I had to think of lots of other things whilst Guy was taking the photos, for example, making sure the working environments were all tidy and that students were wearing appropriate protective clothing for their area. It has been a really busy day, but a great feeling of achievement seeing the end result.

While I’m at the Irvine Campus for the photo shoot, I have arranged a meeting with class rep, Alen McKillop to take a video of him for our #HowToAC video series. For these videos we are asking students to show us how to do some handy things related to their course. For example, we had a motor vehicle student showing us how to check your car oil levels and a care student showing us how to perform CPR. For Alen’s video we are going to do a sport-related video – keep an eye on our social media pages for that!

Tomorrow I am meeting with Gordon Hunt from UWS, who is one of the trustees on the Ayrshire College Foundation. I have prepared some questions and I am going to interview him about his career and why he became a trustee.

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part one

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

We start with an introduction to what Catriona did before she became an apprentice. Look out for Catriona’s daily updates throughout Scottish Apprenticeship Week next week.


6 – 10 March 2017 marks Scottish Apprenticeship Week so, to coincide with this, I am going to write about what I do day to day working as a Modern Apprentice. Today, I’ll give you a bit of background on what I did before starting my apprenticeship.

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I left school after 5th year with a few Highers and Standard Grades but I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do next. All I knew was that I wanted a break from education. I moved from part-time to full-time in my family’s café in Largs and worked my way up to management level. While I was working there I began to save and decided to pack my bags and go travelling.

After spending three years travelling, working and volunteering in Spain, Thailand and Australia I decided it was time to settle back in Scotland and choose a career to work towards. I was open to trying something completely new and kept my eye on websites to see what job opportunities were available. I spotted a vacancy for a Digital Marketing Apprentice at the College. When I read the job description it sounded really interesting and, coupled with the fact it was an apprenticeship, it was the ideal job for me.

Although I did okay at school I knew I would struggle returning to a classroom environment and the chance to learn while working was just so much more appealing to me. I’m definitely more of a hands-on person. Being able to earn a wage while learning was also a big advantage, especially since I’ve been working since I was 13!

Luckily for me, I got the job with Ayrshire College and began my two year apprenticeship in July 2016. I’ve been with the College for eight months now and I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity. I really do love my job.

Working with the Marketing Team no two days are the same and there’s always something new and exciting happening. Read my blog next week to find out what I do day-to-day in a typical week.