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Apprenticeships take centre stage for ambassador Mark

Work-based learning Employers Apprenticeships
Apprentice Ambassador Of The Year Mark Gullan 2

Mark Gullan decided against a career in drama to begin an apprenticeship that has set the stage for success.

Mark said: “I was destined for a career in drama and then decided to do an apprenticeship. I turned down an unconditional offer at university to go down the apprenticeship route and it has been absolutely fantastic for my career and my personal life.”

Cutting costs at Scottish Water

Having been a successful apprentice himself, Mark from Denny had suggested work solutions to Scottish Water that have saved the business significant sums of money and is an inspiration to other apprentices.

Jennifer Burrows, a team leader with Scottish Water who has supported Mark's development, says: “Mark is enthusiastic, engaging and encouraging to everyone. He raises issues and gives thought and support to future generations.”

Mark has been co-chair of the Apprentice Engagement Group within the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board since June 2021 and supports apprenticeships in many ways.

Mark says: “I've really been an ambassador for apprenticeships since I left school and joined Scottish Water nearly seven years ago. I've always advocated apprenticeships to friends.

“When I joined the Apprentice Engagement Group in 2018 that gave me the platform to do more. We liaise with Skills Development Scotland and other Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board groups. We go out to school events and speak to parents and career advisers about how good apprenticeships are. We also work in a consultative role with companies that come to our meetings and ask for our opinions and advice on apprenticeships.”

Career progression 

Scottish Water provides water and waste water services across the country. It has about 4,000 employees, about 140 Modern Apprentices on 11 programmes ranging from Electrical & Mechanical to property and 19 Graduate Apprentices on four programmes, including Data Science.

Mark's apprenticeship, which saw him gain HNCs in Civil Engineering and Water Operations, has helped him move up to more senior positions within Scottish Water.

Mark says: “Doing an apprenticeship puts people in great stead to develop their own personal characteristics and gain more confidence, while also learning a wide range of skills and building a wide range of contacts. Apprenticeships give you that head start that you wouldn't have from just being in a classroom. Through an apprenticeship you get to know the company and how it works and you're learning and earning at the same time.”

Mark adds: “From apprentices, Scottish Water, and other businesses, gain new ways of thinking and ideas to be explored. We have a real pool of talent we've recruited through our apprentices who offer different insights into projects.”

Mark’s achievements led the 24-year-old to be recognised in the Apprentice Ambassador of the Year category sponsored by Scotland's Apprentice Network in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Mark says: “It was a great honour to be nominated."

Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

The winner of the Apprentice Ambassador category sponsored by Scotland's Apprentice Network was revealed at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland, in March. Find out more about the award finalists and the event by visiting