Published: 21 Nov 2014
BSW Timber has launched a unique saw doctoring apprenticeship at its mill in Fort William, underlining the firm’s commitment to nurturing skills and professional development.
The course, which provides candidates with the opportunity to learn specialist skills from BSW’s own highly experienced saw doctors, culminates in an NVQ for Mechanical Engineering with a level two certificate in saw doctoring.
Tony Lockey, training officer at BSW Timber in Fort William, said: “Our apprentices are the future stars of BSW Timber and the wider industry, so it’s vital that they receive specialist knowledge and experience from the very start of their careers.
“By working closely with our highly trained saw doctors, we hope to nurture and develop the skills and talents that each of our apprentices have and are pleased to be able to set ourselves apart from the industry by offering this unique apprenticeship opportunity.”
Ewen Dykes, 18, was the first apprentice to join BSW Timber’s unique saw doctoring the apprenticeship scheme. Recognising the strength of the timber industry, Ewen saw the opportunity to develop industry-relevant skills and has never looked back.
Ewen said: “I saw the apprenticeship job advert in the local paper and decided to apply. I was then selected for an aptitude test and invited to interview.
“I’ve now completed my first year of a mechanical engineering course and am working towards an NVQ with a level-two certificate in saw doctoring. The full apprenticeship course is three years long in total.
“My role includes sharpening, straightening and the general maintenance of the saws on site here at the mill. At the moment I work primarily with circular saws which are used at our brand new state of the art K2 sawmill.
“It’s a really interesting job, and there’s a lot to learn so I’ve really been able to develop my skill set.
“Saw doctors are an integral part of the saw mill – we’re trained to a really high level to make sure the saw blades are sharp and fitted properly to the machines. Without sharpened tools the efficiency of the whole mill is impacted, and there’s an important health and safety aspect to the job too.
“I’m especially enjoying being able to learn on the job – this way, I’m building my experience as well as my skills. I’d love to make my way up through the ranks with BSW, and one day reach a management position. Whatever happens, this is definitely the industry for me.”
BSW Timber is the largest sawmilling company in the UK with production capacity of more than 1,000,000m3 of sawn timber per year, 250,000m3 of which comes from the Fort William mill.
The firm supplies sawn timber products to customers in the construction, pallet, packaging, fencing, garden and DIY product sectors.