Article 9 March 2023

Scottish Apprenticeship Week: In conversation with Catherine Ross

This week is Scottish Apprenticeship Week, and it offers a great opportunity to consider the role that apprenticeships can play in ‘Unlocking Potential’.

Catherine Ross is a Service Maintenance Engineer, and she has shared her personal experiences, touching on her career aspirations, the benefits of an apprenticeship, and advice to others considering embarking on an apprenticeship! 

What were you doing before you joined the apprenticeship?

“Prior to commencing my apprenticeship at Mitie, I worked full time at Sainsbury’s back office customers care team. My daily tasks consisted of dealing with customer enquiries and complaints, and placing shopping orders online. I had been working full-time for about five years and had worked even through the pandemic. Although I enjoyed the customer interactions, I craved a more active and demanding role. Since school I had toyed with the idea of pursuing a career in a trade. Working full time allowed me to mature and when I was ready, I decided to go part-time and enrol in a pre-apprenticeship plumbing course at college for three days a week. Whilst I was at college, I saw the apprenticeship opportunity at Mitie advertised and decided to go for it.”

What attracted you to undertaking an apprenticeship as opposed to choosing other options?

“I have always preferred more practical hands-on learning, and an apprenticeship allowed me to learn in that way. Every day is different, and you learn so much from the team around you. The apprenticeship gives me the opportunity to learn the theory in the classroom but then immediately allows me to put it into practice. An apprenticeship has allowed myself to interact with colleagues and customers which is something I enjoy and undergoing the apprenticeship scheme sets me up for the rest of my life with a trade and practical skill set.”

What has been your experience so far, what is the apprenticeship like, how do you think the apprenticeship is benefiting you inside and outside work?

“My experience has been very positive so far. I have just completed my first year as an apprentice at Mitie for Service and Maintenance Engineering. The job has given me a wide range of knowledge on Plumbing, Electricity, Refrigeration and Air Con and every day I am learning something new. Every day is different, and I get to work on a variety of building services planned and reactive maintenance jobs. I work with several qualified engineers who all have different skills and experiences to share and I have learned a lot from them. I have also been able to pass some of my IT skills to the engineers, so we learn from each other. I study at college every 2 weeks, and I am enjoying the lectures and college experience. The apprenticeship has also helped me gain confidence; my family are proud of me for having made this decision for myself. I also believe it is great to be representing woman in this predominantly male dominated field.”

What are you most proud of since you have undertaken your apprenticeship?

“I am proud of myself to getting myself to where I am now. I am doing well at college, having passed my important exams and looking forward to progressing succeeding further into my apprenticeship.”

What are you career aspirations for the future?

“I am open minded about my future career. I am focussed learning as much as I can over the next 4 years of the programme and aim to become a fully qualified engineer at Mitie and receive my 18th Edition for electricity and my Gas Safe Certificate, perhaps undertake some other qualifications to add to my skills. I certainly hope for a long successful career at Mitie.”

What would you say to people considering an apprenticeship?

“Don’t be scared to get out of your comfort zone! An apprenticeship is a great path to go down. It offers many opportunities and teach you skills that you will use for the rest of your life. If in a full-time job like myself, there are courses out there which can get you on the ladder for an apprenticeship. You also work with a great number of engineers that motivate you to succeed it is a big working family.”

What attracted you to the role at Mitie and Building Services as a career?

“I met several great people during the recruitment process at Mitie and it made me really want to work for the company. I have always wanted a career in construction and engineering, so this opportunity was ideal. The role is so broad and Mitie work with you to help progress your skill levels.”

Are you interested in learning more about recruiting an apprentice, or exploring an apprenticeship as a learning and development opportunity for your Mitie career? 

To learn more about our career and development offering more broadly, visit MyCareer.

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