“It was great having the opportunity to work there” – Matt, Foundation Apprentice

Over the summer holidays our Engineering Foundation Apprentices took on the challenge of a two week work placement with a local engineering company. We caught up with some of the pupils to find out how they are finding the Foundation Apprenticeship and if they enjoyed their work placement.

Next is Matt Addison, Stewarton Academy pupil, chose local Prestwick company UTC Aerospace Systems for his summer work placement.


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A Foundation Apprenticeship is a work based learning course that allows school pupils to gain a College qualification while remaining at school. The work placement is one of the key elements of the course, as pupils can put into practice the skills they have learnt.

“I am enjoying the Foundation Apprenticeship, it’s a great course. I like getting to study something different. I feel it is less focused on academics and more on skills, which I prefer.

Year 1 was quite practical based, year two is definitely more theory based. At school I am studying physics, maths and graphics. It’s not hard to study the Foundation Apprenticeship with my other school subjects. I can catch up without any difficulty if I need to.

The work placement was great. I got to see upfront how they worked with engines, inlets and thrust reversers for the V2500 and CFM engines. I got to help work on the machinery with hand tools, and learnt a lot from everyone I worked with.

The practical elements of the Foundation Apprenticeship meant I was already using most of the hand tools I was given at UTC. Having those basic practical skills meant I could complete the tasks I was asked to do.

I would really like to get an apprenticeship with UTC, it was great having the opportunity to work there. All the staff were great to work with. Before my work placement, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go down the university route or the Modern Apprenticeship route, but now I feel I want to progress to a Modern Apprenticeship.”

Robert Paterson, Training Business Partner at UTC commented “We were very impressed with the level of skill and the enthusiasm from the Foundation Apprentices. Gaining experience such as a work placement is extremely valuable for a young person. It also gives us the opportunity to play a part in molding future engineers and hopefully encouraging them to apply for a position at UTC.”

For more information about our Foundation Apprenticeship Programmes click here.

Read about Isaac and Josh.

Motoring ahead at Ayrshire College

We’re running an Introduction to Motor Vehicle course from January!

We’ve asked four of our August recruits on the IMI Level 1 Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair course to help give us a jump-start on promoting this course.

We asked them to sum up what it’s like to come to here and study in the motor vehicle workshop, and what motivated them to do so.

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So sit back and relax as Caitlin Frew, Darlene Mitchell, John Paul Smith and Mackenzie Greenan, take you on the journey from applying to studying at Ayrshire College.


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Caitlin

I’ve always had a love of finding out how stuff works and being able to fix them if they’re broken.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been around motorbikes and I’ve always loved the idea of finding out how they work.

I wasn’t really that scared about coming into a male-dominated environment because I’ve always been friends with guys more than girls my entire life.

Obviously it was still a little daunting, because I was the only girl on the course – Darlene was on the waiting list to begin with. I thought maybe none of the guys would want to talk to me and would look at me thinking I was weaker. I actually got a job beforehand so I knew what it was like to work in a garage.

When I walked in to Ayrshire College, all the guys made me feel really welcome. I’d say to any girl who might want to do this but is worried, try it anyway because it will be one of the best experiences you could do. Everyone will talk to you, make you feel welcome, and help you out.

Also the greatest thing about being a girl in a STEM course is you do have people who naturally assume you’ll be weaker, and when you prove them wrong that’s the best feeling ever!

I’d love to work with motorbikes once I’m finished here, building them up and building up cars. My wildest dream is to have my own garage. I’d love to run my own business.

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Darlene

My Dad’s a mechanic so I grew up with motors in my life. I used to always help him when I was younger and developed an interest from there.

I love that we have an actual garage where we can get first-hand experience of the things we’re learning in the classroom – instead of learning it and having to try it at home without someone there to help you.

When I applied I found out that Ayrshire College always puts two girls into one class if they can, which did give me a little bit of comfort knowing someone else was going to be in the same position as me. We’re happy to play a part in breaking the stereotype.

But honestly, you don’t get treated as if you’re anyone different. So I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to come because of that.

I’m looking forward to doing the full three years here at the College. My ideal job would be to become a BMW specialist, but whether that happens or not is a different story.

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John Paul

I was always interested in cars and motorbikes, and liked playing with engines when I was younger.

Growing up I had motorbikes, and I’ve had a few cars. I enjoy being around them and getting my hands dirty.

The facilities we have here are second to none. The equipment and tools are all brand new from when the campus opened [in October 2016]. The lecturers are great and everyone gets on really well.

I work part-time and a big part of that is working with motorbikes. I work for a charity organisation called Action for Children. We recently got £6,000 worth of funding to do our own enterprise – getting scrapped motorbikes, fixing them up and selling them on.

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Mackenzie

I’ve just always been interested in cars. I’ve been helping my brother out with his car and it sparked a real interest.

The best part of the course I’m on is being in the garage, because it’s just like being in the workplace. The facilities are first class, we’re pretty much in a real garage.

The hope for me at the end of my three years here is that I’ll be able to work in a garage.


Apply now for our January start Introduction to Motor Vehicle course. 

“I can see a future for me at GE Caledonian” – Isaac, Foundation Apprentice

Over the summer holidays our Engineering Foundation Apprentices took on the challenge of a two-week work placement with a local engineering company. We caught up with some of the pupils to find out how they are finding the Foundation Apprenticeship and if they enjoyed their work placement.

Next is Isaac Renucci, Prestwick Academy pupil, he also chose GE Caledonian for his summer work placement.


A Foundation Apprenticeship is a work-based learning course that allows school pupils to gain a college qualification while remaining at school. The work placement is one of the key elements of the course, as pupils can put into practice the skills they have learnt.

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“If I am honest, I didn’t really like the other subject options I had to fill my timetable at school. I just thought, I like the look of this course I will give it a go and apply.

Right now in the course it’s mostly physics-based theory. In first year though it was more practical, we wired a circuit board and completed a fitting unit.

I must admit before the work experience I didn’t see myself working in engineering. After the work placement, I have completely changed my mind. I really enjoyed it and could see myself working somewhere like GE Caledonian.

The company was impressive. It was quite a scary experience working with all this expensive equipment. I didn’t want to touch anything in case I broke it.

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The people at GE Caledonian were great. On my first day everyone that I met spoke to me. When they passed me they would ask how I am. It was just a really friendly and welcoming environment.

During the first week of my placement I was working on the LPT strip, on the new genx2b engine, and working on the module and parts. Then I moved onto the gearbox.

I wasn’t trained to use all the machinery but I had the hand skills to complete the same tasks as everyone else there. I was treated as an actual member of the team for those two weeks.

I can see a future for me at GE Caledonian.”

Stephen McNab, Apprentice Leader at GE Caledonian commented “The group of Foundation Apprentices on work placement with us were fantastic. Their enthusiasm and drive over the two weeks was evident from the start. The level of skill they started the placement with was tremendous. I had their mentors here telling me how impressed they have been. For us as a company, being able to interact with the Foundation Apprentices is valuable. It offers us the opportunity to spot talent and create a pipeline into our Modern Apprenticeship programme.”

For more information about our Foundation Apprenticeship Programmes click here.

“I now know I definitely want to be an Engineer” – Josh, Foundation Apprentice

Over the summer holidays our Engineering Foundation Apprentices took on the challenge of a two-week work placement with a local engineering company. We caught up with some of the pupils to find out how they are finding the Foundation Apprenticeship and if they enjoyed their work placement.

Prestwick based GE Caledonian was the company of choice for Belmont Academy pupil, Josh Rennie.


A Foundation Apprenticeship is a work-based learning course that allows school pupils to gain a college qualification while remaining at school. The work placement is one of the key elements of the course, as pupils can put into practice the skills they have learnt.

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“The course was appealing to me. I saw a video about the class and thought this is what I want to do.

It’s a good opportunity to help me get into employment when I leave school, and it’s a good qualification to have to progress onto a Modern Apprenticeship. Employers are now looking for it.

The course itself is good, it’s actually quite fun. It’s a lot of practical and not too much theory, especially when it comes to the work experience, which I like. The course content focuses on skills that I need for going into the workplace.

Currently, we are studying for a National Certificate (NC) and units of the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) qualification. The class is very hands-on. The lecturers show us what they want us to do and then we go ahead and carry out the task.

During my summer holidays I spent two weeks at GE Caledonian, working Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. On the first couple of days I was working on a compressor, then I moved into the gearbox room, where I spent time working on gearbox techniques. The last few days I worked on the core unit which is part of the compressor.

Josh

The work experience was a lot of hands-on jobs, I got to develop skills that I will use when I go into the workplace. It was a really fun placement. I would like to get a Modern Apprenticeship there when I leave school.

I now know I definitely want to be an engineer. I am not sure what area I want to go into yet. I am enjoying learning about the different aspects of engineering and feel that my work placement has helped show me that aeronautical engineering could be a good option for me.”

Stephen McNab, Apprentice Leader at GE Caledonian commented “The group of Foundation Apprentices on work placement with us were fantastic. Their enthusiasm and drive over the two weeks was evident from the start. The level of skill they started the placement with was tremendous. I had their mentors here telling me how impressed they have been. For us as a company, being able to interact with the Foundation Apprentices is valuable. It offers us the opportunity to spot talent and create a pipeline into our Modern Apprenticeship programme.”

For more information about our Foundation Apprenticeship Programmes click here.

Lab Technician for a week

Daisy Dudgeon is a 4th year pupil at Marr College in Troon.   Daisy would like a career in science and as part of the school’s work experience programme, she decided to spend the week working in the Science department at the Kilwinning Campus of Ayrshire College.

She tells us about her week at Ayrshire College and how it has helped her at the start of her career path.

“I went along to a recent Girls into STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Maths) event held at Ayrshire College, which inspired me to find out more about spending my work experience week at the College.  I already know what I want to do career-wise, but it definitely gave me more of an idea of how coming to college can help you get this kind of career.

Eventually, I would like to work in forensic science.  To be completely honest, the main reason I wanted to get into forensic science was a TV show, ‘Hawaii 5 – 0!’  It just caught my eye, and I thought, I want to do that with my life.”

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Engineering and Science Technician, Christine Gorrian with Daisy

We asked Daisy what she has been doing as part of the work experience in the Kilwinning Campus science labs at Ayrshire College.

“I’ve been shadowing Engineering and Science Technician, Christine Gorrian for the week.  It’s been so busy:

Monday – we prepared the experiments for the microbiology classes, which involved making and pouring the agar. 

Tuesday – we finished off preparing more experiments and I helped to set up a spreadsheet for the equipment orders that have to be ordered for the science department.

Wednesday –in the morning I got to join the Microbiology class and we did some experiments.   In the afternoon I joined the chemistry class, they were making esters, so it was good to help them outwith that.  

Thursday – as part of the work experience we have to do a workplace project.  My project was working on the stock-take with Christine, updating, refreshing and keeping track of all the stock in the Science department.  It was a big job – I didn’t realise how much goes into running the science labs, making sure that everything is ready for the lecturers and students. 

The work experience has really helped me with the science subjects that I’m studying at school at the moment.  It’s given me more of an understanding of the more difficult stuff we are doing in chemistry at the moment.  I’ve learned a lot of things that I didn’t know and got to do experiments that I would normally only get to do in a more advanced class. 

I really enjoyed being a bit of a lab technician while I was at college.  It’s a lot different to school.  I’ve learned so much in just a few days.  I felt like I’ve been learning the whole time as well as experiencing being at work. It’s been an enjoyable experience.

I’d like to go to Strathclyde University to study and eventually get a job in forensics.”

Find out more about Science courses at Ayrshire College.