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Day 4 of Scottish Apprenticeship Week – where has the time gone!  Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert, who is in the third year of his Fabrication and Welding Modern Apprenticeship.

What made you choose this particular MA and how did you hear about Dustacco?

I always knew what course I wanted to do, so I did a bit of research online, applied to Ayrshire College and was given an unconditional offer straight from school.  It was really by chance that I got the position with Dustacco – I saw a post in the college advertising short term work experience.  So I applied for that and came in to Dustacco for two days.  Lynn (Anderson – Ayrshire College Curriculum Administrator, Engineering and Science) was brilliant, she was a massive help to me when I was submitting my application; she went through all the paperwork with me and helped me with my CV.  A week after I’d been in working at Dustacco, I heard back from them that they wanted to offer me a place.  I like making things and I’ve always enjoyed manual work as opposed to paperwork, so this course is perfect for me.  I didn’t have much fabricating experience before I came here, just test pieces in the college, but nothing like what we make at Dustacco.

What’s a normal week like for you?

It varies, depending on the workload.  One day it could be steelwork or pipework, it could be sheetmetal the next, and some weeks I’m in the workshop, others I’m out on site – it really depends on what the needs are at the time.  When I’m in the workshop I’ll be given a job by Alex (McNab – Dustacco Workshop Supervisor) and I’ll work my way through it.  I get to work on all different tasks so I’m learning a lot, and I work really closely with everyone.  Sometimes I work on my own, but certain jobs require two people.  But even if I’m on my own and need a hand with something, there’s always someone there I can ask.

Is there anything that you find particularly challenging?

Trying to learn everything at once can be quite tough at times, and you need to be able to turn your hand to anything, which is difficult because it can be quite fast paced.  I’ve got a notebook that I use to write down instructions to stop me forgetting, but I don’t always have time to stop and look at it when we’re really busy!  Even though there’s a lot to learn, I enjoy trying new things – I’d rather try my hand at everything than only do the minimum that I need for my course.

What is the best part of the apprenticeship?

I love the practical aspect of the course.  Paperwork, not so much!  Before I started with Dustacco my coursework was mostly paperwork with very little hands on experience.  But I find that I learn better by doing things myself, rather than reading about it or listening to someone else talk about it.  I wouldn’t really say I’ve got a favourite job, I enjoy all of it.  I’m easy going so whether I’m in the workshop or out on site I’m happy!

What would you like to do when you complete your apprenticeship?

To be honest, I’d like to stay on with Dustacco.  There are people who have had experience of working for other companies before coming here, and they’ve stayed here for years because they think it’s a brilliant place to work.  And I’d have to agree; I really enjoy working here.  The support I’ve had has been great, and I’d like to stay on and keep learning and gaining experience.