Foundation Apprenticeship Interview with a Scientific Technologies Student

Today we are speaking to Emma, a Scientific Technologies Foundation Apprenticeship student, in order to learn about her experiences on the programme. This is part of a series on this blog in which we meet with Foundation Apprenticeship students on all five of the frameworks on offer in East Lothian to find out more about this opportunity.

Why did you decide to do a Foundation Apprenticeship?
I chose to do a Foundation Apprenticeship because it seemed like a great opportunity to get work experience in an area I was interested in. I was lucky to have the option to do the direct entry in S6, as I wasn’t able to start in S5 because it didn’t work with the classes I was taking. I knew that it would be worthwhile and would help me with my plans after I leave school.

Why did you choose the specific Foundation Apprenticeship that you are doing?
I chose to do the Direct Entry to Scientific Technologies as part of 6th year because I have always loved studying science, and I wanted to get experience doing proper lab work. I got a placement in Charles River which I am happy about because I have an interest in drug development, and the work they do there is very interesting. It is a great way to develop the skills and knowledge I already have of chemistry and allows me to apply it to new contexts.

Have you enjoyed your experience so far?
So far my favourite part has to be the work I’m doing in my placement. I have learnt so many new things and new techniques using special equipment and I am about to start working on a study that I am excited about.

Have you faced any difficulties at all?
I found it difficult at first. It is intimidating to suddenly find yourself in a professional environment where you don’t completely understand what’s going on. After my first week I felt a lot more comfortable. I got to know the people I was working with and I wasn’t as scared to ask questions when I didn’t understand. The people I was working with were great and took the time to make sure I knew what I was doing and eventually I was at the stage where I could do procedures by myself.

Would you recommend a Foundation Apprenticeship to other students?
Definitely, it is such a unique and valuable experience that will help anyone who chooses it with whatever they want to do after school. Not only does it give the person experience in a certain subject, it also gives them experience working with professionals in a proper workplace. It really helps to develop team work skills which is really something that stands out to employers and admissions. It is also a fun experience and is a great change from sitting in a classroom.

Do you know what you want to do when you leave school?
When I leave school I would like to study Chemistry at university. I have always enjoyed chemistry and have found it interesting, especially medicinal chemistry. With a degree, I hope to go on to do research into developing and making pharmaceuticals.

How do you think doing a Foundation Apprenticeship will help you reach those goals?
A Foundation Apprenticeship will help me get into university for Chemistry because it has given me a year of experience in a professional lab learning techniques and using special equipment that other people applying for chemistry have never done before. I have also learnt the underlying chemistry behind the procedures I have been doing, which others won’t learn until university. It has given me a great insight into what I want to do in the future and has helped me confirm that this is what I want to do.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Emma for answering my questions; it’s greatly appreciated. If you’d like to learn more about Foundation Apprenticeships, check out our blog post here. If you’d like to apply, speak to your Guidance Teacher, and if you have any further questions, get in touch with East Lothian Works: vocationalopps@eastlothian.gov.uk.

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