Perth High School pupil Ross Sinclair is prepared for the world of work. For the past two years, he has been undertaking a Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering as one of his school subject choices.
Ross is nearing completion of the two-year programme, and has been awarded UHI Perth's Foundation Apprentice of the year award. He has also been nominated for The Foundation Apprentice of the year as part of the 2018 Scottish Apprenticeship awards.
Foundation Apprenticeships are open to pupils in the senior phase of secondary school and usually take two years to complete. They combine learning at UHI Perth with a significant work placement with a local employer, which results in a qualification at the same level as a Higher.
Ross said: “I was keen to work in engineering when I left school and I thought that the Foundation Apprenticeship would be a good thing to do. I saw the course in the school option choice form and enquired via the Guidance staff. At College, I have learned many new mixed skills, more focused on engineering than school could have been. ”
Ross goes to college one day a week and in class, he has been covering topics like mechanical and electrical principles. The course is a mixture of academic and practical skills. He particularly enjoyed the workshop elements of the course.
“I’ve enjoyed how relaxed college is,” he said. “It isn’t like school it’s not stressful. All the work is manageable and you are treated like an adult. I really enjoy it.”
As well as gaining the expert knowledge that will help him flourish in the workplace, Ross says that his apprenticeship has helped him grow as a person too. “I am a lot more confident since doing the Foundation Apprenticeship. With the lecturers, they want you to be the most confident person you can be.”
Ross has recently completed a work placement with Dundee Cold stores and has been offered a Modern Apprenticeship with the company. A representative from the company, Peter Wilkinson, said, “During the time Ross has spent with Dundee Cold Stores for work experience, he has made a huge positive impact with everyone who he worked alongside.
"From the initial induction through to a final appraisal of the work carried out, Ross has demonstrated a very professional and forward thinking attitude. I believe this is partly due to Ross’s character and partly from the opportunity provided by the Foundation Apprenticeship in developing these initial basic skills that prepare the apprentice for the workplace.
"It was extremely surprising that Ross was able to work on a multitude of different tasks with minimal intervention from the skilled engineers accompanying him. His work met specification – first time and remains in the workplace indistinguishable from the skilled engineers working alongside him.
"From the basic health and safety skills to applying his engineering foundations, Ross has fused these pillars of learning to the new workplace demands with good effect, learning with enthusiasm. Some elements of the Foundation Apprenticeship (mainly electrical) are delivered just in the classroom. Here, in the workplace, Ross was able to be much more hands-on and see the learning in practice, driving his desire to learn and practice more.
"It was after just the first day we had decided Ross was the only apprentice we wanted engage with and proceeded to offer him a Modern Apprenticeship with Dundee Cold Stores.”