Day 3 of Scottish Apprenticeship Week brings us to our second Watermiser apprentice,Louis, who is in the first year of his Fabrication and Welding NC with Ayrshire College.
Louis, what made you go for this particular Modern Apprenticeship?
I was doing my PEO level 2 at Ayrshire College and saw the ad on the board. It mentioned fabrication of water cooling towers, which I thought sounded really interesting. I assumed they would be stainless steel cooling towers, so when I found out they were GRP I was curious – you don’t get the opportunity to learn about and work with fibreglass every day – so I saw it as an opportunity to learn a skill that is different, whilst still gaining my welding qualification. I enjoy putting the towers together and fitting the components once the panels are made. Making the panels is hard work, but it’s great to be able to say that the product is hand-made.
Like Sean, you also had the opportunity to work in London – how was that?
Yes, I got to go to site with Graeme (Young- Watermiser Site Supervisor) not long after I joined the company. It was brilliant, I’d never been to London before so it was another new experience for me. Graeme was great, and I learned a lot from him during the trip. I love being out on site – it’s a completely different learning experience. Also, the towers go to some pretty interesting places so I think it gives you a better appreciation of how they work and it’s great to see them in action.
What is a normal day like in the workshop?
The Watermiser workshop is well organised, we all know what we need to do. I’m usually given a list of tasks to work through and am allowed to just carry on with them. I like to be kept busy, so I’m always looking for more to do and different things to learn. If the workshop is quiet then I usually work on my coursework evidence. Alex (Jamieson – Watermiser Workshop Supervisor) is really supportive – he lets me work through things at my own pace and will check in with me regularly and give me advice if I need it. All the guys are great, if I need help with anything they’re all more than happy to help.
Have you noticed a difference between working with the Dustacco and Watermiser guys?
They’re both great – it doesn’t even feel like they are two separate businesses. The Dustacco workshop is a lot louder, just with all the machines and because there’s more people in the workshop. Alex (McNab – Dustacco Workshop Superviser) is quite talkative and really helpful. Even the Dustacco apprentices are a huge help; when I’m practicing my welding, they’ll come over and see how I’m getting on and give me tips. They’ve already done all the stuff that I’m learning just now, so it’s great to get help from them.
You went through our apprenticeship trial prior to being offered a position, what did you think of that?
I really enjoyed it, because it gave me a chance to try out the work that I’d be doing day-to-day. We had a couple of different tasks to do, like taking the pack out of the tower for cleaning and then reassembling it back inside the tower. This is harder than it sounds because the pack has to be cut to fit the internal shape of the tower, so it has to go back in the same way that it came out.
Most employers are interested in how good you are at maths or physics, but Watermiser concentrated more on our ability to follow direction, work as a team and carry out the physical aspects of the job. I also really enjoyed the interview; I didn’t feel any pressure because everyone was so friendly and relaxed, which made the interview so informal.
In fact, the whole atmosphere at Watermiser and Dustacco is so laid back, which makes it a really good environment for me to learn in.