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Engineer Stevie Davies opted for an apprenticeship over university when he left school.

The former Arbroath Academy pupil liked the idea of learning on the job while earning money at the same time, and quickly found his niche with GE Oil & Gas.

Having impressed colleagues with his skills, he’s now completed his Modern Apprenticeship in Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering at the firm’s site in Montrose.

“I stayed on at school until the end of my sixth year and I applied for mechanical engineering courses at university and got accepted,” the 22-year-old said.

“But I also applied for a Modern Apprenticeship and in the end I decided to go down that route as I knew I could always go back to education, but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship again."

“The practical learning involved suited me, and I spent the first year with Angus Training Group, so by the time I arrived at GE I knew the basics and was able to work."

“I spent about six months moving around different departments and was then given the chance to be trained on how to use the horizontal boring machine. I jumped at the opportunity and was able to join the shift rota early, which was great."

Stevie Davies

“I got my final workbook completed in May 2015, which was a really good feeling as it meant I was qualified to the same level as my colleagues – it felt like a real achievement.”

Training and Development Leader at the GE Oil & Gas Montrose facility, Craig Lownie, said Stevie’s progress meant he was quickly able to take on greater responsibilities.

“Academically, Stevie really stood out and won the Apprentice of the Year competition in his first year with Angus Training Group,” Craig said.

“That was the first marker he laid down and, when he joined the site after completing his first year, it was evident he had a great aptitude for learning and an inquisitive nature. These attributes enabled him to quickly learn and understand the various processes.

“Stevie was put on the horizontal boring machine which is one of the most technical disciplines we have, with complex, high value components that need to be manufactured. It’s one of the most difficult to learn but the feedback from our lead hands and mentors was very positive. As a result, Stevie was given the opportunity to run the horizontal boring machine himself.

“If I’d gone to university I’d now be struggling to find work due to the current climate, so it’s definitely something I’d tell other people to consider if they want a career in engineering.”

Stevie Davies

Stevie added: “This route has worked out perfectly for me as I’ve got a job, I’m qualified, experienced and I’ve been earning money all the way through."

Think a Modern Apprenticeship might be for you? Find out more here

Want to know more? Here Letitia  explains why she chose to become a Modern Apprentice.

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