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7 of the current Foundation Apprenticeship Engineering students at West College Scotland Paisley Campus will be progressing onto highly sought after Modern Apprenticeship schemes after the summer with various big-name employers including Babcock, Chivas, Diageo, BAE Systems and Rolls Royce.

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We spoke with the students who are all delighted to be progressing onto Modern Apprenticeships with their dream employers after successfully going through a demanding recruitment process and going up against thousands of applicants.

Jamie Wright, 18 from Dumbarton, secured an engineering modern apprenticeship with BAE, with only 10 places available nationally, he said:

“I don’t think I would have secured a place without this course because they’re so competitive. The apprenticeship will be better than university because I’ll be getting paid while I learn”.

For two students in particular it is a very exciting time as they’ll both be progressing onto the same MA scheme with Rolls Royce - this is the first time that two students on a FA course at West will progress onto the same modern apprenticeship scheme!

Ross Gillies, 17 from Paisley, has successfully secured a four-year modern apprenticeship with Rolls Royce in machinist – which is what he wants to do as a long-term career. During the assessment day, Ross provided examples of his work from college and representatives from Rolls Royce were extremely impressed by assessment materials Ross took along to demonstrate his skills and experience undertaken while studying his FA at West.

Ross commented:

“I’ve really enjoyed all the practical work on the FA course and the lecturers have all been great”.


Fellow student Phoenix Duggan, 17 from Dumbarton, also secured a place on the same four-year modern apprenticeship with Rolls Royce. Talking about his time at West, Phoenix commented:

“This course really sets you apart from others by giving you practical experience. The college really supported me during my application process too as it can be daunting knowing you’re up against thousands of other applicants. The positive references from college lecturers definitely helped to support my application”.

Speaking with the students it was clear to see how they believed the FA course gave them the skills, knowledge and confidence to apply for the highly-competitive modern apprenticeships.

Lecturer Iain McQuade commented:

“It’s incredible really that two of our FA students will join the same modern apprenticeship with Rolls Royce. The MA schemes are extremely competitive with thousands of students applying from all over the UK and only 17 places available in Scotland for this specific MA – I’m really proud that two of our FA students will be joining this year’s cohort with Rolls Royce and of all the students moving onto MAs or further studies”.

During the FA course, students also had the opportunity to gain real-life experience within a variety of engineering environments when they undertook a week’s work experience with different employers including NHS Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital Paisley, Marriott Hotel and Eclipse Blinds.

Students explained having the ability to discuss their wide variety of theoretical and practical work, alongside work experience, during interviews for the MA schemes helped to demonstrate their applied skills which contributed to setting them apart from other applicants.

The success of the Foundation Apprentices isn’t the only thing the Engineering department have to celebrate, as data for 2021/22 shows 80% of engineering students at West successfully completed their course which was the second highest completion rate for Further Education institutions in Scotland and sits high above the national average of 59%!

We wish all the FA students the best of luck in the next step of their Engineering career!

Feeling inspired? Take a look at the Foundation Apprenticeships available at West: