Whim that offered job security
With an interest in IT, Robert Dalgarno completed his HND in computing at North East Scotland College.
Although the 23-year-old was accepted to continue his studies at the Robert Gordon University, he later spotted an advert for an apprentice scheme with telecommunications firm BT.
“I actually applied for it on a bit of a whim,” recalled Robert.
He added: “It was a choice between getting a job and going to uni.
“I didn’t expect to get the traineeship but when I found out I had, I decided just to go for it and I’m glad I did.”
The modern apprenticeship not only offered Robert training, but guaranteed him a job upon completion.
“I like the security of having a job to go to at the end of it all as some people go to university for four years and then struggle to find work,” said Robert.
“They’ve given me all the basic training into how a phone works and you migrate from that to being able to do it yourself.
“It really helps you develop the skills needed for the job.”
Robert was due to graduate from the scheme in October this year, but because of his success, he was given the opportunity to graduate with a Level 3 ICT qualification three months early.
“I graduated in July and in October I’ll make the formal switch from an apprentice to a fully pledged employee,” explained Robert.
Nicholas Luke, Robert’s development coach, described him as a model apprentice and explained that the firm recognises apprenticeships as an ideal way of getting new people and new ideas in to business.
He said: “It’s worth recruiting this way. It means you can mould people into what you need and fill any skill gaps in the organisation.”
Robert said the experience has not just improved his workplace skills, but helped aspects of his personal life, too.
He said: “I was really nervous when I started. It was also my first proper job doing what I wanted to do and I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not.
“My social skills were also quite poor and I used to be nervous about speaking to people but since I started here I’ve really improved.”
Giving advice to today’s youth, Robert said it’s important to keep options open.
“I think sometimes people in Aberdeen think they have to look at jobs in the oil and gas industry.
“I’d say look around for a job that interests you and don’t settle for the first job that comes up as you will find something that sparks your interest.”