Having completed her Foundation Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering at West College Scotland, which involved a placement with global engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald, Sophie, was able to put her skills into practice by applying for the organisations fiercely competitive Modern Apprenticeship programme.

Sophie, 19 from Renfrew felt that having the skills, knowledge and personal experience gained from her Foundation Apprenticeship gave her the confidence to apply.

She said: “My placement within the 2nd year allowed me to meet people who were engineers and get a bit of experience actually working at what I would be doing in my apprenticeship. I was able to gain practical experience working on maritime projects, learning how to use CAD so I basically had all the skills to do my job by the time I started.”

Speaking about the application process she said: “The framework of progressing from Foundation to Modern Apprentice works really well. I think if I was applying for Modern apprenticeships without the kind of support that I’ve had from the Foundation Apprenticeship it would have been a lot more difficult. The process is savagely competitive so, if you’ve got this kind of experience you are prepared, and you know that it is definitely what you want to do before going through all the stress of applying”.

Richard McGowan, Associate at Mott McDonald, said: “Sophie was selected, essentially on the basis that she completely nailed the interview and she had that confidence because she knew us from her Foundation Apprenticeship. She knew what the work involved, and she was the only candidate who had some experience so that really gave her a massive advantage, as well as seeing her capabilities on the 1 day a week she spent with us during her placement.”

Richard spoke about Sophie’s commitment and work ethic saying this made her a standout candidate during the recruitment process. She has completed the first year of her Modern Apprenticeship working entirely from home due to the pandemic and she is also working towards her HNC Engineering 1 day a week at West College Scotland.

As an employer, Richard highlighted the Foundation Apprenticeship programme as an excellent opportunity to engage with young people who are interested in engineering.

He said: “It gave us the chance to recruit individuals who can hit the ground running when they start work with us and Sophie has just proved how successful that was. It was really beneficial, and I would have been absolutely gutted if she turned us down!”

If you would like more information and to follow in Sophie’s footsteps check out West College Scotland’s range of Foundation Apprenticeships at www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk/courses/foundation-apprenticeship/foundation-apprenticeships-at-wcs.