The theme for 2023 is ‘Skills for Life'. There is no doubt that the skills, confidence and experience apprentices gain in their roles can be transformative for their future careers, opening doors, building contacts and providing a foundation to take that next step to a permanent role.
The apprenticeship programme offered by global geo-data specialist Fugro covers a range of roles, from engineering to marketing, computer science to business development. It combines on-the-job learning, special assignments, virtual and classroom training, and mentoring. Each apprentice has the opportunity to build a valuable network within the organisation, grow personal leadership skills, and gain insight into how the business works.
To mark NAW 2023, GDI heard from two Fugro apprentices about the path they took, what they have learnt and any advice they have for others.
Name: Dara Isles
Job title: Marketing Intern
Graduated: Dara graduated in Summer 2020
Dara's story: "I studied public relations at university and graduated right at the height of the COVID pandemic, which meant opportunities were few and far between. I decided to stay in my retail job while I looked for other opportunities, and it was then I came across the apprenticeship scheme at Fugro.
"With it being six months long, I was initially a little cautious, but I decided to take the plunge as I really couldn't see myself staying in my current job for much longer and I was keen to make a move into something where I could see myself building a career.
"I've been given a massive amount of support from Fugro to help improve my confidence, which has been fantastic, finding myself in new situations and projects where I'm learning a huge amount. The main highlight during the apprenticeship was being given the responsibility to help run a client event in Aberdeen while having only been at the company for six weeks. The response and feedback was extremely positive, and it gave me a major boost to my confidence in the role."
Advice for anyone applying for an apprenticeship: "Don't settle for the first opportunity that you come across after studying. It can be a very stressful time after you graduate trying to land a role and feeling like you need to be immediately doing something relevant to your degree. But the reality is keeping your options open, biding your time as I did, and being patient can pay off. That opportunity that might be slightly out of your comfort zone may turn out to be the best decision in the long run."
Name: Matthew Buchan
Job title: Electrical Supervisor
Matthew's story: "I took a slightly different route into working at Fugro. I decided against attending university and was working as a site labourer when I came across the job opening for an apprenticeship role at Fugro. Opportunities to carry out an apprenticeship while travelling to assist in site operations were rare in Cornwall. This, alongside the ability to take part in numerous training opportunities, appealed to me. It was the perfect opportunity to become an asset to the company while progressing in my field.
"Once I was taken on, I had a close 1-1 mentor I was shadowing, alongside two days a week studying at college. The highlight of my time on the scheme was assisting in the delivery of large projects, including three VBM installations and multiple nearshore and offshore marine mobilisations. On numerous occasions we were working to tight deadlines, so ensuring the delivery of the projects on time was a great achievement for all of us.
"After completing my apprenticeship in March 2022, I ended up taking on my supervisor's role as they moved to another position within the business. I now lead a team of six engineers, supporting site operations and ensuring the work that's being done is of a high standard. I'm also involved in training the next cohort of apprentices helping those coming up after me to take up these opportunities."
Advice for anyone applying for an apprenticeship: "I think those who are applying would be surprised sometimes who we end up selecting. At Fugro, there are a number of criteria we look at - we recently offered an opportunity to the candidate who had the least experience on paper, but we could tell they had the right initiative and the kind of mindset that would work really well within the team. If you can find opportunities to show where you can become an asset to your team, and add value, you'll be successful."
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