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Port Glasgow pupil Shannon McGuckian was set to leave school until a careers evening on Foundation Apprenticeships changed her future.

Now, the 17-year-old St Stephen’s High School pupil is confident that she wants to pursue a career in civil engineering. 

Shannon said: “I felt I was finished with school at the end of fourth year after my exam results hadn’t gone to plan.  

“I’d considered applying for a Modern Apprenticeship in engineering. 

“However, after finding out about the Foundation Apprenticeship my mum and dad encouraged me to go for it and I’m so glad I took their advice.” 

Foundation Apprenticeships allow those in S5 and S6 to gain a nationally recognised qualification at the same level as a Higher, alongside their other subjects.  

They also provide pupils with the opportunity to get real work experience in some of Scotland’s most exciting growth sectors. 

Shannon chose the Foundation Apprenticeship in civil engineering in her fifth year through West College Scotland; alongside Highers in maths, English and physics.  

She is now in the second year of her apprenticeship, which includes a work placement at civil engineering experts Landscapes and Contracts.  

While Shannon is on work placement, she gets the chance to experience a wide range of aspects of the industry, including using a laser to set out co-ordinates for the other engineers. 

Shannon said: “The best bit about the Foundation Apprenticeship is definitely getting out of the classroom and getting hands-on experience at the site.  

The best bit about the Foundation Apprenticeship is definitely getting out of the classroom and getting hands-on experience at the site.

Shannon McGuckian, Foundation Apprentice

“It’s also rewarding putting the theory from college into practice in a real working environment. 

“It’s really helped open my eyes to what I’m capable of and definitely developed my confidence.” 

As she prepares to leave school this summer, Shannon’s planning to remain in the industry and looking to progress onto a Modern Apprenticeship or college course. 

Shannon’s keen to let others know about the benefits of Foundation Apprenticeships. 

She said: “At first I wasn’t sure about doing the Foundation Apprenticeship but now would say that anyone in a similar situation should go for it.  

“It is definitely a better option than leaving in fourth year and allows you to get a taste of a subject you wouldn’t normally experience in school.”  

Landscapes and Contracts Projects Manager Adam MacAlister says Shannon has excelled during her time with the business. 

Adam said: “Shannon takes everything on board and is clearly interested in this as a career, which results in her brilliant attitude in everything she sets out to do. 

“At the start of last year there was a big push to bring young people to the organisation and the Foundation Apprenticeship provided us with that opportunity.  
“It’s really refreshing to have Foundation Apprentices, like Shannon, that want to learn and have a genuine interest in what we’re doing here.” 

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