As a part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we would like to introduce three of our very own. Based at our Arnish facility, Gina Stewart, Kyle Mackay, and Tommy Smith are all six months into their training with us.

The Stornoway trio took time from their busy schedules to provide insight on why they chose to begin their apprenticeships with Harland & Wolff, detail the skills they are learning and provide advice to anyone considering whether an apprenticeship is the right path for them.

Gina Stewart – 1st Year Welding Apprentice, Harland & Wolff Arnish

“I was always better at practical subjects and working hands on. I never had an interest in going to university and it wasn’t a path I wanted to take. During my time at school and in doing work experience, I would always choose to work with metal, whether that was welding or building things like toolboxes. I think apprenticeships are a great way to learn in a new and different way and can lead to great opportunities like travelling.

“Throughout our week, we do half practical and half theory. I do things such as plate work, different kinds of welding like flux core and Cad. When at the yard we do different tasks, such as building benches or working on the sub arc machine. There are a variety of jobs and subjects which I think is important and makes it more enjoyable.

“I have learned many new skills during this apprenticeship already. I have passed classes such as lathes, workshop skills and thermal cutting (UHI North, West and Hebrides). I have learned how to use different tools like the cutting torch and different welding machines and learning to weld in different positions. At the moment I am learning to weld vertical joints using flux core.

“I would recommend an apprenticeship. They teach you a good work ethic as well as teaching you how to work with others and many other useful skills. I would say that there are many different ways you can go with apprenticeships and that they lead to so many different opportunities.”

Kyle Mackay – 1st Year Welding Apprentice, Harland & Wolff Arnish

“I chose to do an apprenticeship as it is a good way to get into the working environment while also giving me qualifications from college to set my future up for success. The apprenticeship I am doing allows me to stay on the island that I live on which means I do not have to move away to go to university or college.

“I have completed the NC engineering course and most of the SVQ level which includes a number of both theory and practical classes such as Cad welding, platework, wiring and more (studied at UHI North, West and Hebrides). I am currently doing flux core training; we learn to do a number of different welding joints in different positions while using a flux core welder (FCAW). These welds will be tested and if they pass, it gives me the ability to weld on clients’ jobs in the yard. I have learned many skills for welding, platework, wiring, thermal cutting, lathe work, Cad, pneumatics and hydraulics, maths, comms, and a lot more.

“I also get to go out to the yard at Arnish and do all the tasks given to me around the yard. Our current task is to weld benches for the new locker rooms at Arnish and I know that our welds will stay in the yard for years to come. It is definitely worthwhile as I get experience working whilst learning and gaining qualifications without having to leave the island.”

Tommy Smith – 1st Year Plating Apprentice, Harland & Wolff Arnish

“I chose to do an apprenticeship because I thought it would be beneficial to my future to start early. I have had an interest in fabrication since I started secondary school.

“I spend half of my time out at the yard and at college (UHI North, West and Hebrides). When I am in college I am working on my practical skills such as welding and plating. My theory work consists of questions on my practical work, maths, English and computer skills and when I am out at the yard I learn important skills I can use in a working environment.

“Skills that I have learned since starting my apprenticeship include communication skills which means I am able to express how I think the task at hand should be done and has built confidence while working with my colleagues and helping with given tasks. I have also learned skills on the job such as knowing how to properly use the tools in the workplace. I feel I have achieved more confidence with my practical skills while working out at the yard.

“I believe doing an apprenticeship is worthwhile because you are learning new skills in a working environment. I would recommend an apprenticeship as it provides a great opportunity to achieve a good qualification.”