A Modern Apprenticeship gives people the chance to work, earn and learn, undertaking industry-accredited learning while they’re in a full-time job. Bethany is currently working towards a level 5 engineering qualification at Moray College UHI, which she attends two days a week.
According to the 26-year-old from Kinloss in Moray, her gender has never been an issue in her engineering Modern Apprenticeship – and she’d encourage more women to challenge stereotypes and give it a go.
“A lot of people do ask me about the gender imbalance, but being the only girl in the workshop, I really don’t see any difference,” she said. “There’s such a stigma behind it that needs to be dropped – it’s not the way people think it is. The people I work with are lovely, and they’re so helpful. I’m just another member of the team.”
One of the things Bethany likes most about the role is the variety, and the opportunity to work on impressive projects – her apprenticeship let her play a part in the fabrication of one of Scotland’s most iconic and recognisable structures.
She said: “My favourite part of the job is building something, making something, and seeing it all put together and in use. Whether that’s a piece of a building or a handrail – I also made some platforms for underneath the Forth Road Bridge.”
Bethany’s job combines a mix of marking and cutting steel, working on welding jobs, and going out to sites to put projects together, all with plenty of support from her colleagues and mentor. She says that getting paid while she learns sets her apprenticeships apart from other jobs or study.
“It totally opens up your life,” she said. “There are so many opportunities. Once you’ve finished work, you can go home and book a holiday, you can start saving for a mortgage. If you were just at college, you’d have to work your weekends – you’ve got so much more independence on an apprenticeship.”
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