Edinburgh College Foundation Apprentice looking to engineer a life after school

Eighteen-year-old James Blackhurst from Gorebridge in Midlothian hopes to use his Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) to gain the experience and skills that will help him in whatever he decides to do in the future.

High school pupil James currently spends three afternoons each week shared between the College and the work place completing a FA in Engineering. We caught up with James to find out more about his apprenticeship:

What made you choose a Foundation Apprenticeship?

I wanted to expand my knowledge and push myself to try new things. I wanted to have a wide variety of skills to set myself up for life after school and keep as many options open as I can.

What is/has been the best thing about the Foundation Apprenticeship? Any highlights?

I have amazing classmates that always want to laugh and enjoy our time there. Our lecturers are just as good and are brilliant at explaining everything. I have also enjoyed challenging myself.

What is/has been the best thing about working while you study?

I haven’t been in a work placement yet, but with the experience I’ve had so far, I would say being able to learn how to use all of the machinery.

What is the best advice you can give to someone thinking of doing a Foundation Apprenticeship?

I would say 100% do it. Even if by the end you say that it’s not for you, by not giving it a go, you are missing out on an incredible chance. You will develop your knowledge and skills which you may never have got and that is well worth the time and effort.

Did you face any challenges before starting that you were worried might prevent you from doing your FA? How did you overcome them?

Going into any new situation you worry about the other people that will be there and how the lecturers will be, but giving it time and trying to get to know your classmates makes the experience even better and enjoyable.

Looking back, if you could do one thing differently what would it be and why?

Try and relax more when I first started because there was nothing to worry about.

What are you most proud of that you have achieved while doing your FA?

Developing my skills and knowledge for subjects like maths and physics. Even though I wasn’t the best at either, I have managed to get through the course without any problems.

Learn more Apprenticeship opportunities at Edinburgh College.