More than a decade after leaving school, William Braid thought that a degree wasn’t an option for him – until a Graduate Apprenticeship opportunity came along.
Lifeboat engineer William started work with Montrose-based Destini Marine Safety Solutions (MSS) last May. During discussions about his professional development with his Managing Director, Colin Cunningham, it became clear that a structured, recognised qualification would benefit both parties.
Colin looked into the subject to see what options were available and William was soon offered the opportunity to further his learning with a Graduate Apprenticeship through Dundee University.
The Graduate Apprenticeship has allowed me to study for a degree which, otherwise, I’d never have been able to do. At 16, I wasn’t mature enough to realise that university was important, so I missed the boat. It’s given me a chance to rectify the mistakes I made in the past and I couldn’t recommend it enough.”
William Braid, Graduate Apprentice
Graduate Apprenticeships let employees work towards a degree while working full-time and earning a salary. They’re available in nine different subject areas across 12 universities Scotland-wide.
William said: “I have a family – I have a wife and a small child. Going to university, financially, just wasn’t an option for me. It was a massive relief when I was told about the Graduate Apprenticeship, because I really wanted to get my degree but I was struggling to find an avenue that would suit me.”
William, 28, is studying towards a degree in Engineering Design and Manufacture at Dundee University. He attends classes at the university one day a week whilst working with Destini MSS for the remainder and says that the formal training has been a huge boost to his career.
He said: “Through the Graduate Apprenticeship, my time management has improved. My ability to research information and confirm it. I’m able to make sure what I’m doing is the correct method. It’s improved my patience – the apprenticeship has improved me as a person, not just a professional.”
The Dundee degree covers a range of topics, including business strategy, engineering materials, mathematics, CAD design and structural analysis. William says that the structure is helping him progress in a range of different ways.
William’s experience on the Graduate Apprenticeship hasn’t just been positive for him – it’s inspired his wife to make a change to her career too.
“There’s a lot of praise and a lot of support comes from my family, including my wife and extended family, with regard to the Graduate Apprenticeship,” he said. “It’s been very positive for our house. It’s given my wife a bit of a nudge too – she’s going to go back to study in her own field. I don’t know if it’s connected directly, but I think it’s helped.”
William, who lives in Cardenden in Fife, has worked in engineering since leaving school, but had only ever received on-the-job and in-house training. The Graduate Apprenticeship is giving him the chance to take his learning to the next level – something which Colin Cunningham, William’s mentor at Destini MSS, says has been a great opportunity for the business.
He said: “In our industry, the tendency has always been to train people in-house, but that won’t necessarily get them any formal qualifications. The Graduate Apprenticeship has been great for us and shows an innovative approach to the development of our personnel. It’s not only giving people like William a job, but the opportunity of further education too. Through this, we can say we have degree-qualified service engineers which is very attractive to our clients.”
Dad-of-one William says that the Graduate Apprenticeship has been a fantastic second chance for him to pursue a career he’d only dreamed of. He’d encourage others to look into opportunities with local employers.
He added: “The Graduate Apprenticeship has allowed me to study for a degree which, otherwise, I’d never have been able to do. At 16, I wasn’t mature enough to realise that university was important, so I missed the boat. It’s given me a chance to rectify the mistakes I made in the past and I couldn’t recommend it enough.”