The fact that I am not a native English speaker was something that I was worried about, but the input and the help from everyone helped me work on my own level at my own speed and this helps me have an idea for my future career in the construction industry.
What were you doing before this apprenticeship?
Before I started this apprenticeship I was employed by the Spar in Stornoway. I came here in 2019 from France to discover a new culture and improve my English. After my HND in Thermal Engineering and Energy, I decided to carry my studies abroad in Scotland. While studying I was able to have a part time employment at the Spar for 2 years until I decided to change for the apprenticeship.
What made you want to do this apprenticeship?
During my studies, starting in France, I always missed a practical part of my learning. Everything we are taught is theoretical and I have discovered that I am learning better while I am working on a specific project and it helps me understand more the purpose of what I am doing and why. I was able to have few experiences during my HND studies thanks to internships but it lasted just a few months which were not enough for myself to gain any relevant experience. This is why I choose to look for an apprenticeship because I would have been able to gain work experience in the subject of my studies, being employed and still studying at the same time. This was the perfect fit for a first employment on a construction site.
How have you found the apprenticeship so far?
So far, I have found this apprenticeship really interesting. It has been making me learn a lot everyday that I have been working with McLaughlin and Harvey. I am able to be autonomous when I feel comfortable doing a task or on the opposite, I can ask for help at any time if I need guidance. The fact that I am helping multiple persons with real tasks helps me have a good point of view on what is happening on an everyday basis in a construction company.
I did struggle at the beginning because it was my first relevant experience in construction industry and in a foreign language. However, with time and help from everyone, I was able to find my marks and feel more comfortable the more I was coming to work.
What tasks do you complete on an average day?
My tasks can change everyday which makes me like this apprenticeship a lot. Sometimes, I will have to work at the office and do calculations, plan measurements or help anyone when I can. Other days, I can be on site walking around the site and complete tasks like checking the progression of certain phases of construction (this could be if the fire alarms have been put in place in every room, plasterboard walls, ceilings).
At the moment, I am in a time where I am asking anyone what tasks I can help with and do the best that I can. I am not only looking for engineering tasks because I feel I want to have a look in any aspect of a company to understand more later. For example, lately I have been helping Gerry Rowland, the Senior Quantity Surveyor evaluating the scaffolds on site. This task includes walking around the site and take notes on what is in place, measuring on the plan thanks to a CAD software and helping with how to present the result when it comes to set a total price. This aspect of the apprenticeship was not what I expected but the fact that I am included in meetings, have my own responsibilities and also be aware of a quantity surveyor position just help me have more knowledge in the construction industry.
What do you hope to do when you finish your apprenticeship?
I am still feeling it is the beginning of the apprenticeship period and that I have a lot more to learn. I am hoping, if I can, carrying on with McLaughlin and Harvey and find the right position which will just suits what I like and what I want to learn.
What would you say to someone interested in the same apprenticeship?
I will say not to hesitate. I have been looking for this kind of employment for so long and I still am so grateful to be able to be part of this team. Everyday I am coming to site, I am not feeling I am coming to work but coming to learn. This makes my day going so going fast because I enjoy what I am doing.
It is the perfect opportunity to learn everyday something in the construction industry, to have an employment and carrying on studying. The fact that I am not native English speaker was also something that I was worried but the input and the help from everyone helped me work on my own level, my own speed and this helps me have an idea for my future career in the construction industry.