Scottish Apprenticeship Week: An Interview with a Foundation Apprentice

As you may have seen, this week is Scottish Apprenticeship Week #ScotAppWeek20, led by Skills Development Scotland. This campaign aims to highlight the fact that there’s no limit to where an apprenticeship can take you; it creates talent without limits!

Today I sat down with Stefanie, a Foundation Apprenticeship student in Scientific Technologies, to ask her a couple of questions.

What made you decide to do a Foundation Apprenticeship?
I was always interested in Science and I wanted to know more about how scientists work and what their workplace is like. At school you don’t really get that choice. You have your set courses like Chemistry, Physics, and Biology, but you never get a taste of what people do in a working day, so I thought it would be really interesting.

Why did you choose Scientific Technologies specifically?
I knew that I wanted to do something in the sciences, so I thought maybe this would make me find something more specific that I’m interested in. There’s so many different jobs you can do in Science, but at the same time you only get the three courses in school, so I wanted something more specific.

How did you find the course at the beginning?
In the first year it was kind of overwhelming, but totally worth it in the end! The first year we learnt everything we could; we had five tests at the end (3 maths units, 1 lab safety unit, and 1 Chemistry unit). We did tons of experiments in this time; I wouldn’t have thought there were so many experiments you could do! It was a bit overwhelming, but once we got into second year and went into placement and got to see everything in action it was mind blowing!

Is it hard juggling a Foundation Apprenticeship with your other classes?
No because you get a lot of free periods to be able to catch up. Because the Foundation Apprenticeship takes up a whole column in your timetable it gives you three periods a week or so. It was a bit different to everyone else in S5 because you’re not really meant to have a study period in that year, but it worked out well for us. We definitely had enough time to do everything.

How did you find going to the workplace for the first time?
It was amazing. Everyone says it’s so different from what you’re expecting. We had a great supervisor who was amazing. It was me and another two students who went to our specific work placement, and we had a fantastic time every single day.

Do you know what you want to do when you leave school?
Just now I’m not too sure. I feel like because there’s so much choice I’m a bit overwhelmed! I think I’ll probably do something to do with biochemistry. The Foundation Apprenticeship does open a lot more doors than an actual Higher would do in a lot of ways. I’ve been considering a Modern Apprenticeship, but I’m still trying to decide. University is an option, but because there’s not a lot of jobs in Science it might be better to go into an apprenticeship, get a degree that way, and have a job afterwards.

What are the positives of doing a Foundation Apprenticeship?
It takes away a lot of stress; you get a lot more experiences and choice after school. I really enjoy it, and so does everyone else that I’ve spoken to.

What are the difficult parts of doing a Foundation Apprenticeship?
The work is a lot; at the end of the course you get one Higher qualification so you have to think about whether it’s worth all the work. But it’s really going to stand out on a CV or a job application or when applying to university or whatever it is you want to do. It’s stressful in the first year, but in the second year you get to see what you’ve been working towards.

Would you recommend a Foundation Apprenticeship?
If you’re interested in a certain industry and you want to see whether you would like to pursue it as a career then I would definitely recommend it. You get to learn so many new things and meet so many new people. It’s not just your school life anymore.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Stefanie for taking the time out of her busy day to talk to me and discuss the Foundation Apprenticeship programme. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours once she leaves school!

If you’d like to find out more about Scottish Apprenticeship Week, please take a look at the #ScotAppWeek20 hash tag on Twitter. If you’d like to find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships, check out the link below:

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