"I was always interested in engineering, design and graphics when I was at school – I did a Higher in Product Design."
I got on to a National Certificate in Engineering course at New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell Campus because I wanted to get to grips with the building blocks of engineering, one step at a time.
I wasn’t in any rush to get my qualifications and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t struggling.
About six months into the course, Daiwa Sports Limited, which is based in Wishaw and makes high quality fishing tackle, contacted the College asking if there was anyone suitable for an apprenticeship in process engineering.
At first I was a bit reluctant because I thought at the time that I’d rather go on to get a degree and get fully qualified that way.
But my lecturers encouraged me to apply, saying that opportunities like this don’t come up very often. I could go and get a degree but there might not be anything for me at the end of it, where an apprenticeship would give me knowledge, training and work experience, too.
So I went for the interview and got the job. And I’ve no regrets.
You get a lot of responsibility as an apprentice at Daiwa Sports. It’s a Japanese company – a major global brand - and the Wishaw site is the only manufacturing facility outside the Far East.
It’s not just sitting at a desk. I can be put in charge of a team – even if the people are older and more experienced than me. That was a bit of a worry but I thought to myself, I’ve just got to do it – and everyone helped me through it.
My apprenticeship lasts four years and means that a New College Lanarkshire assessor visits me at work to check I’m on track with recording the skills I’m learning as I go along.
About two years into it, the company offered me the chance to do an HNC in Mechanical Engineering on top of the apprenticeship.
So I now come into the Motherwell Campus once a week, in a class with 10 others also doing their Modern Apprenticeships and it’s good to hear how their jobs are different from mine.
The HNC course has been more beneficial than I first thought and I really enjoy it.
I’m 100 percent convinced I made the right decision by going for a Modern Apprenticeship. I owe everything to my lecturer at New College Lanarkshire for persuading me to do it.
My brother also did a Modern Apprenticeship in cooking and now he’s a full-time chef at a restaurant in Glasgow, which he absolutely loves. I think the Modern Apprenticeship scheme has been fantastic for the whole family.