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Apprentice Iona is engineering an inspiring career

#ScotAppWeek24 Apprenticeships STEM

Fifer Iona McGhie hopes her path through Scottish Apprenticeships with premium drinks firm Diageo will inspire other young women to get into a career in science, technology, engineering or maths. 

The young engineer realised the benefits of apprenticeships when she took one as a school subject and decided to continue to pursue her dream career through work-based learning. 

Iona said: “My grandad inspired me to get into engineering, letting me join him at his work bench to hammer nails and saw things – I just loved working with my hands. 

“I want to be that inspiration for other young women to think about STEM careers, because I just love what I do.” 

The 23-year-old completed a Foundation Apprenticeship at Kirkland High School before progressing on to a Modern Apprenticeship. Iona’s now started the next stage in her apprenticeship journey as a Graduate Apprentice working with the firm and studying for her degree in Mechanical Engineering with Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University. 

In her Modern Apprenticeship Iona played an integral role in an engineering team who fix breakdowns, complete maintenance and solve problems. She excelled in her Mechanical Engineering studies and her achievements included stepping up to cover for an experienced engineer – when she was relied on to carry out challenging tasks. 

Iona McGhie

Iona is now nominated for the Modern Apprentice of the Year SCQF Level 6+ category at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards. 

Iona said: “Doing a Modern Apprenticeship means you can carry out tasks at work that you’ve learned at college, which gives you a huge advantage. 

“I had always wanted to take my education further and the Graduate Apprenticeship is a great way to do that. I’m now working in global engineering, involved in a community of engineers all over the world, which is an amazing opportunity.” 

Diageo Capability Manager Rhoda Gabellone said: “Iona absolutely embraced the whole apprenticeship. She won everyone over and went above and beyond.  

“She is a very proactive learner, always keen to progress, and is a natural at coaching and mentoring the younger apprentices who are coming through. 

“Apprentices bring new ways of thinking and working, a drive and eagerness to learn and they help us to future proof our business by bringing new skills.” 

Fife College Employment Engagement Advisor Roseanne Somerville said: “Iona was an exceptional apprentice whose commitment and attitude to her studies was exemplary.  

“She has developed into a confident and competent engineer.”  

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. 

Find out more

The winner of the Modern Apprentice of the Year Level 6+ category will be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from 4 to 8 March.

Go to the awards website