Alanna's apprentice story

Alanna Sinclair has just begun a Modern Apprenticeship. She knew about apprenticeships at an early age and always thought that this might be the right route for her. At school, Alanna attended work experience with Wood Group PSN.

“I got to experience lots of different departments on my placement,” she said.

“One day, I was given the opportunity to work in the drawing office  –  I was studying Highers in graphics and graphic design as well as maths, English and business management, so I was excited to see how structures were designed using the latest technology. I really loved it – I felt it was an area that matched and made the most of my strengths.


“In my final year at school, I started to look at apprenticeship positions. There wasn’t that much information available on apprenticeships at school – it was more about going on to university. Whilst that’s okay for some – university wasn’t right for me.

"My older brother was an apprentice so I knew a little bit about it already. I think an apprenticeship offers more security and independence. You can build your skills and have a guaranteed job at the end of it, whereas at the end of university you then have to start looking for a job.

“My nana saw this ad for an apprentice draughtperson with Gray & Adams Ltd in Fraserburgh and within a month I had been offered the job. I work on the design of refrigerated trailers using Autocad and it’s great. I’m really enjoying it.

“In my first couple of years, I came to college on a day release basis to gain some further qualifications  –  I got my National Certificate in Engineering and began studying units towards an HNC in Mechanical Engineering.”

Alanna in the workshop

Now, aged 20, Alanna has just started her Modern Apprenticeship with NESCol in Engineering Technical Support (Engineering Drawing).  She has already achieved part of the award with the qualifications she has gained over the last couple of years. Alanna is now beginning her Performing Engineering Operations –  Mechanical (PEO) qualification, two days a week at college, followed by the SVQ level 3 workplace-based qualification. She will then complete the remaining units towards her HNC.

“I have met my assessor who will meet with me every 13 weeks to see how I am getting along,” says Alanna.

“I’m looking forward to this because I like to be given feedback. I have a training book which I have to complete and provide evidence of everything that I have learnt.”

Andrew Cooper, training manager at Gray & Adams, said: “I look forward to seeing how Alanna progresses over the next year or so. We are extremely happy to support her in gaining the MA award – it is beneficial because the qualification gained is actually an industry-recognised qualification.

“The Modern Apprenticeship programme is good for us as a business. It enables us to offer this opportunity to existing employees to develop their skills.”

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