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Modern Apprentice Callum flies the flag for a net zero future

Spirit Aerosystems Calum Gaw 69

High-flying engineering Modern Apprentice Callum Gaw’s job with aero manufacturing firm Spirit Aerosystems has sparked a passion for sustainability and broadened his own horizons. 

The 21-year-old has been instrumental in getting colleagues across the business working towards a net-zero goal and inspiring others to look at new ways to be ‘greener’. 

Callum chose his four-year Modern Apprenticeship because he wanted to be self-sufficient and learn practical skills on the job. 

Working four days a week with the firm, based at Prestwick Airport, Callum is also studying for an HNC in Aeronautical Engineering at Ayrshire College as part of his Aeronautical Engineering Modern Apprenticeship.  

And the job has allowed him to hone important skills such as teamworking and communication, adaptability, time management and critical thinking. 

Engaging with the firm’s net zero initiatives has boosted Callum’s confidence, enabling him to interact easily with business experts and make connections in the wider aerospace industry. 

Callum said: “I wasn’t massively academic at school but the Craft Apprenticeship has shown me I can be good at what I do - and that makes me push myself harder. 

“Getting involved in sustainability gave me a fresh perspective and really improved my confidence.” 

Callum, of Prestwick, led a team of fellow SpiritAerosystems apprentices in a Fuel Change challenge to create a ‘sustainability room’, identifying green solutions for business processes based on opinions from across the firm. 

He also led the team in a four-month project to develop a strategy for retrofitting homes in Scotland with insulation.  

Their final presentation impressed the panel of judges who expressed an interest in trialling the concept. 

Callum attended the New York Times Climate Hub at COP26 in Glasgow, which inspired him to become a net zero champion. 

He gave a talk to the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce on Fuel Change and the need for greater sustainability. 

And he hosted a microstation at Fuel Change Live! in Edinburgh, canvassing for joined up thinking on a green future between industry, government and educators. 

Modern Apprenticeships are jobs open to anyone aged 16 and over who wants to work, learn and earn. Modern Apprentices spend most of their time learning in the workplace while being supported by a local college or specialist training provider to gain an industry recognised qualification. 

Spirit AeroSystems Business Improvement Manager Brian McGilvary said: “Callum takes every opportunity he is given and runs with it. He wants to make a difference, pushes himself to achieve and wants others to do well too.” 

Ayrshire College SVQ 3 Assessor, Aeronautical, Robert Paterson said: “Callum has real gumption about him and a great work ethic. He is very switched-on, asks lots of questions and joins the dots for himself - he’s the full package.” 

Callum’s achievements have led to him being a finalist at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, in the Supporting Net Zero Apprentice of the Year category, sponsored by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland. 

The winners will be revealed at the awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland and set to take place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week from 6-10 March. Find out more about the award finalists and the event by visiting: