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Natural leader Ryan inspires work mates to follow in his apprenticeship footsteps

#ScotAppWeek24 Apprenticeships

Dumfriesshire apprentice Ryan Taylor uses his valuable skills to help his employer cut waste while mentoring colleagues. 

The 22-year-old, who is partially sighted after being born with retinal dystrophy, joined Browns Manufacturing Ltd, in Sanquhar, as a Food and Drink Operations Modern Apprentice two years ago and has already proved a huge asset to the company. 

Ryan’s visual impairment means his other senses are heightened, enabling him to identify issues with the machinery or products through sound and touch that other workers often miss, helping the business operate more efficiently.  

His learning development was supported through tasks and objectives set for him to achieve on the factory floor, and his knowledge of the food industry, communication skills and confidence in his own ability have improved significantly. 

Ryan wears white protective coat and hat, with a blue hair net. He is smiling to the left of shot while leaning on racks of newly baked bread, with the factory in the background

Ryan, of Kelloholm, said: “Doing the Modern Apprenticeship was a great opportunity to boost my knowledge and skills and helped me prove what I could do by putting my learning into practice on the factory floor.  

“Being able to work, learn and earn on a Modern Apprenticeship means you can focus on work and your learning, without having to worry about money.” 

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. 

As well as the contribution he makes to the business’s bottom line, Ryan says his biggest achievement has been to take on a mentoring role and he has already inspired a new staff member to sign up for a Modern Apprenticeship too.  

The meat processing worker also regularly takes charge of the team he works with. 

Ryan said: “We had someone new start and I spoke to him about Modern Apprenticeships and encouraged him to go for it too - seeing him succeed feels great.” 

“I thrive on responsibility and my team will often turn to me if there’s an issue with the machinery, so I’d really like to work my way up to team leader.” 

Ryan’s achievements have led to him being a finalist at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards in the Modern Apprentice of the Year Level 5 category sponsored by SQA. 

Ryan Taylor 2

Brown Brothers Manufacturing Ltd Training Coordinator Caitlin Kilday said: “Ryan takes everything in his stride and always gives 100% to everything he does. His enthusiasm shines through and he doesn’t let his visual impairment hold him back.” 

Brown Brothers Manufacturing Ltd Assessor and Internal Verifier Craig Murray said: “Ryan is a natural leader who has fantastic knowledge and skills and puts his learning into use every day. 

“He excels at drawing on his other senses to tell when something is wrong and spots problems other people miss just by listening to how the machine is working.” 

Find out more

The winner of the Modern Apprentice of the Year Level 5 category sponsored by SQA will be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from 4 to 8 March.

Go to the awards website