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East Dunbartonshire teen Shannon has got her future career on the right track after support from Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) Next Steps programme helped her to gain an engineering Modern Apprenticeship with ScotRail.  

Due to experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, Shannon had poor attendance during S5 and, upon leaving school, got in touch with SDS to help with her future. 

She got signed up to the Next Steps programme, which is aimed at unemployed young people aged 16 to 18-and-a-half and involves intensive careers information, advice and guidance to help young people identify their skills, strengths and ambitions. 

Before she started to experience feelings of anxiety, Shannon had good attendance and achieved excellent grades. She was interested in completing an art course at college, however, was concerned about the transition from high school.  

During a pupil support group meeting a school, Shannon was referred to the Positive Achievements Summer Step Up Programme to help with her confidence. She enjoyed the programme and had good attendance throughout.  

“I’m really looking forward to starting my career as an engineer with ScotRail. Having studied automotive engineering, I see this as a new challenge.”

Shannon decided to continue with the programme rather than start a college course as the programme was helping her feel confident and positive about her future.  

Upon finishing Positive Achievements, Shannon continued to work with her SDS work coach. Her career ambitions were discussed, and it was discovered that Shannon liked the idea of working with cars and lorries and was interested in becoming a mechanic. She was concerned, however, that she would be the only girl in the workplace.  

With the support of her work coach, Shannon applied for an eight-week introduction to mechanics course at West College Scotland in Clydebank. She was successful, and upon completion of the curse, she was encouraged by her lecturer to apply for the full-time course.  

Shannon applied for the full-time mechanics course and embarked on several practice journeys to and from the college to ease her anxiety surrounding the travel.  

Shannon achieved a Level 2 and 3 Vehicle Systems qualification, as well as an HNC in Automotive Engineering.  

In August 2018 Shannon secured an engineering Modern Apprenticeship with ScotRail. She is the first ever female apprentice to be based at the Corkerhill Depot in Glasgow and is thoroughly enjoying her new job.  

Shannon says: “I’m really looking forward to starting my career as an engineer with ScotRail. Having studied automotive engineering, I see this as a new challenge.”

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