Its Scottish Apprenticeship Week so FIS asked one of its members, Indeglas, based and working in Scotland, what’s your views on employing apprentices?  This is what they said…

‘As an SME, we are extremely proud of our long tradition of investing in apprenticeships as part of our resourcing strategy as this commitment has resulted in bringing some exceptional talent into the industry over the years.  It can be extremely daunting to make a four year commitment to a young person when confirmed forward work stream is rarely certain for that length of term, however, we remain committed to the benefits of the formal apprenticeship route as it supports individuals with foundation skills which ‘future proofs’ them.  By that expression, I mean they are prepared for continual learning and upskilling, they gain confidence which enables them to challenge their own human capabilities, they are encouraged to problem solve and learn critical thinking methodology and they embrace adaptability and resilience.

Although some of the apprenticeship modules may appear traditional, the core learning, aptitudes and standards set are highly flexible.   At Indeglas our scope of work requires required highly skilled operatives to work with glass, steel, aluminium and timber components.  These materials  are unforgiving and demand a high level of accuracy and attention to detail at every stage of the procurement, delivery, logistics, site preparation, assembly and finishing of the product.  Advanced technology is producing an increasingly complex range of glass types and engineering these products into high performing systems for safe application to the built environment is a constantly evolving challenge.  If we are to remain agile and capable of embracing new innovative ways of working this will be highly dependent on retaining a high calibre of staff who embrace change are keen to learn and have confidence to challenge and stretch their own capabilities.  By investing in apprentices, we feel we are not only investing in the future of our Company but investing in the future of the industry as a whole which, put simply, is good business ethics’

Andrew Dunn – Interview for Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021

Interview by Jeanette MacIntyre, Managing Director, Indeglas

Q. Andrew, prior to starting your apprenticeship over four years ago, can you recall what sparked your early interest in joinery?

My favourite subject at school was Woodwork, I loved being able to own a project, working out which tools and materials I needed, the techniques of fixing different materials together well and seeing these materials transform into something useful. Being able to put something of yourself into creating something new felt really good. I also helped my father doing some refurbishment projects and I saw how joinery skills could transform people’s lives and make them better and that appealed to me.

Q. Which aspects of the apprenticeship did you find challenging and which did you enjoy the most?

I didn’t expect so much of the training to involve methodology and the apprenticeship included some subjects that I couldn’t initially appreciate the significance of. However, on reflection, I fully understand that I have now gained a positive, challenging way of thinking,  a process of approach that I can transfer to so many aspects of my job.  It’s given me confidence that I can approach completely new situations,  types of materials and environments and apply the same core skills and learning to find solutions.  I enjoyed the wide scope of skills I achieved working on complex timber structures. I set myself some really high standards as I was used to minimal tolerances working with aluminium and glass during my on-site learning.

Q. You achieved an exceptionally high grade in the Advanced Craft examination. Have you identified further areas of learning you would like to pursue? 

On-site we are already operating robotic lifting equipment and I would be keen to learn more about the variety of options possible to assist the logistics and site preparation for various glass types to ensure I am using the most advanced and effective equipment and methods. Learning more about different glass types, the properties of glass and in particular fire rated glass screen assemblies and doors is of interest as this is an important area and has the potential to save lives as well as let daylight through a building.  I see a wide variety of opportunities for learning and am keen to develop these.