Aidan turns apprentices into high flyers
Ayrshire’s Aidan McIntyre draws on his passion and experience to go above and beyond to support GE Aviation Caledonian's young apprentice engineers.
Within five years of starting his engineering Modern Apprenticeship in 2014, Aidan was promoted to the role of Apprentice Coordinator at GE. He became responsible for leading GE’s apprenticeship programme that has been established for more than 40 years.
Passion to support others
Caroline Gillies of learning provider Ayrshire College said: "Aidan was chosen to lead the next generation of engineers and leaders due to his passion and desire for coaching and mentoring.”
Aidan said: “I struggled as a school leaver having university grades but no desire to attend university. All my friends went to uni and I felt frustrated and isolated.”
Aidan wanted to use his personal experience to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to other young people.
Aidan explained: “I'm an apprentice ambassador through Scotland’s Apprentice Network to help as many people as possible avoid feeling the way I did. I give advice on numerous industries, not just engineering. My main objective is supporting school students into a positive destination that fits within their aspirations.”
Aidan has come up with original ways to support apprentices at GE Aviation during the pandemic.
Caroline explained: “Aidan created his own YouTube channel for Scottish Apprenticeship Week in 2021 to help promote apprenticeships and extend outreach in Scotland in the height of the pandemic when students' exposure to professional role models was limited. The videos got more than 200 views during the week.
“This is a great example of Aidan’s innovation and passion to inspire the next generation of apprentices.”
Aidan supports apprentices professionally by planning their training for the duration of their three-year apprenticeship at GE Aviation.
Aidan added: “I also support the apprentices on a more personal level. Having been an apprentice myself not too long ago, I can relate to the various obstacles they have to overcome and I often lean on my own experiences to help them on their journey.”
Nurturing homegrown talent
Aidan’s work to inspire and support young people has been recognised by Ayrshire College, who made Aidan the inaugural inductee in its ‘Hall of Fame’, created for former apprentices who have gone on to make a real impact and difference in their organisation.
On the advantages for GE of employing apprentices, Aidan said: “Apprenticeships are beneficial for our business as they fill the labour gaps of the future with organic, homegrown talent.
“Our apprenticeships programme gives us the opportunity to tap into the enthusiasm and energy of the apprentices which helps us tackle challenges with a fresh perspective. They challenge our thinking to continuously improve our processes and systems.”
Aidan recognises the benefits of working, learning and earning for young people.
He said: “There are many benefits for the apprentices, including real work experience and being able to get bespoke support from a diverse and highly skilled employee base. This is all while being paid and gaining industry and globally-recognised qualifications.”
Aidan is proud of reaching the finals of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards in the Apprentice Ambassador of the Year category sponsored by Scotland's Apprentice Network. He said: “I felt a surge of pride when I initially heard I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Apprentice Ambassador category.
“I have recently become a dad, so I hope my son looks at his daddy when he’s big enough and sees someone who cares so much about those he tries to influence.”
Using experience to relate
Caroline Gillies works closely with Aidan. She added: “The working relationship between assessor and apprentice ambassador is very synergistic in nature, with the aim of helping each apprentice achieve their qualification.”
Caroline added: “Aidan’s apprenticeship gave him the perfect foundation and stepping stone into a successful career at GE. Aidan used his knowledge and network, gained through his apprenticeship to begin mentoring other apprentices when he was fully qualified.”
Scottish Apprenticeship Awards
The winner of the Apprentice Ambassador category sponsored by Scotland's Apprentice Network will be revealed at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, which is organised by Skills Development Scotland and set to take place virtually during Scottish Apprenticeship Week from 7-11 March. Find out more about the award finalists and the event by visiting apprenticeships.scot.