I work for Leonardo in Edinburgh and I am currently in my second year as a Manufacturing Apprentice.
Which young Scot inspires you?
The young Scot who inspires me is Sharon Rooney, who played Rae Earl in the drama ‘My Mad Fat Diary’. She played a young self-conscious girl who has just been released from a psychiatric hospital who is trying to become what she perceives as – “normal”- whilst dealing with her poor mental health and overcoming her body issues. In interviews after filming the series she talks about the stigma that exists around mental health, explaining that ‘our mind is just as important – if not more important – as anything else. You have to look after it’. She explains how there has always been pressure on young girls to look a specific way – I found her role and attitude towards big issues for young people nowadays during interviews to be really inspiring.
What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
The best thing about growing up in Scotland is definitely our free healthcare, the NHS. I think it’s something we take for granted as it’s what we are used to, but you realise how amazing it is when you think about what the USA has to deal with and how expensive simple items are there. As someone with a serious nut allergy, I require epi-pens regularly so being able to easily receive free prescriptions is a blessing as it would cost me a lot of money a year in the US for something I can’t help.
What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
The thing I’d most like people from older generations to know about young people, is that we are always willing to learn new skills and the majority are highly motivated and willing to put in the effort to do well. I think older generations should be keen to work with us and share their knowledge. We are the future and their skills and knowledge will help us and companies to continue to succeed and for products and services to be produced at the highest of standards.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is getting my apprenticeship with Leonardo. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the majority of my time at High School and leaving with just a few National 5’s I was afraid I would be stuck in a dead end job. But I was accepted into the Manufacturing apprenticeship programme with Leonardo and I absolutely love my job. There’s amazing opportunities for all apprentices throughout the programme and support is always given for every individual to do their best and to constantly improve.
What would you most like to achieve in the future?
What I’d most like to achieve in the future would be finish my apprenticeship and get a job in a department which I have thoroughly enjoyed working in, whilst having the opportunities for career progression. I’d also like to build myself a good reputation, both in Leonardo and in the engineering industry on a whole. In addition to this, I am always keen to encourage young people to follow the apprenticeship route as it offers amazing opportunities and allows for people to earn whilst they learn. In particular, I am keen to encourage females into the engineering industry as I see the male domination in engineering on a daily basis and want to change the perceptions that people have of engineering being dirty work.
What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
The advice I would like to give to young people in Scotland would be to consider an Apprenticeship, even if you have decided that university is the route you want to take, then look into graduate level apprenticeship programmes. This means you get the degree but you’re getting paid for it. You won’t be left with student debt and you get the practical experience by doing the job in the workplace. Another bit of advice is that engineering isn’t necessarily dirty work, the majority of my work is in clean rooms which couldn’t be further away from the perception that people have of the engineering industry.
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