After trying out a number of jobs on leaving school, Fraser has found his passion as a car technician and he's excelled – being nominated as Apprentice of the Year by his employer, Lookers. Here, he talks about his journey, and how an apprenticeship can help you really succeed in a job you love if you benefit from a strong, supportive team.
Name: Fraser Ross
Company: Lookers Audi
Industry: Transport and logistics
What is your job? Apprentice technician
How long have you been doing this job? Two years
- Nine GCSEs
- A vocational course on renewable energy at Cardonald College
- Scottish highers in physics and graphics
1. What was your very first job?
After leaving school when I was 16, I worked for a telecommunications company for about six months, installing data cables and CCTV. While I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I knew it wasn’t really for me so decided to move on.
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
I always knew that I wanted to pursue an apprenticeship, although at school I was more interested in the aeronautical industry. While I had several interviews with companies such as Monarch and British Airways they didn’t result in a job. What I took away from the experience however was that it was positive to get down to the final interviews – some of the candidates were graduates and several years older than me.
3. How did you find out about the industry?
My dad was a mechanic to trade and when I was younger found myself helping him with lots of smaller jobs. When I decided that this was the career for me I started to apply for lots of jobs and targeted premium brands like Mercedes, BMW and Audi.
I was invited to attend an assessment day at the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow with 30 or 40 other candidates. I made it through and was then asked to come into the Audi workshop with another five candidates. Myself and one other person were offered the jobs.
4. How did you get there?
I was eventually successful through a combination of understanding what I enjoyed, what I was good at and also by looking for experience in everything that I did. I also tried to be positive when I wasn’t successful with an application too.
5. What is a typical day like?
My days are very varied. I live only a few miles away so the daily commute is fairly straightforward which is great!
After I clock in I will check in with my manager who will assign me jobs for that day. This could involve working on more basic tasks such as servicing or changing brakes through to more challenging ones involving full diagnosis of a cars problems.
Now that I have been here for two years the jobs I undertake tend to be more challenging which I enjoy as I know I have the backing of a great team.
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
I love working with a premium brand. Not only is there a certain amount of kudos but I genuinely am very impressed with the quality of the product.
I was very proud to recently have been named as Lookers Apprentice of the Year. The awards ceremony was held in Palma, Spain and there I met the CEO of the company as well as other senior team members. It was great to feel so appreciated.
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
I can feel a little nervous when doing a job that’s new to me. But as the support systems that are in place are so good I know I will never fail. And it’s a great feeling to complete a challenging job and come up with a solution.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
If you are a practical person, like cars and are willing to join an apprenticeship scheme, then I can totally recommend it. Through a school work placement with a local company I learned about hydraulics and mechanical systems and knew then I was the kind of person that liked to understand how things work. If you are willing to learn new things, have a positive attitude and enjoy training, this is the job for you.
9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
I didn’t realise that I would be valued so much. Winning Apprentice of the Year was a fantastic surprise and I was delighted that Lookers took the time to recognise my efforts.
10. Where would you like to be in five years?
I have two years left on my apprenticeship and will be well on the way to becoming a qualified technician. Ultimately I want to become a master technician.
If, like Fraser, you're passionate about how things work, you could find yourself in a challenging and rewarding trainee role as an apprentice. Find out where an apprenticeship could take you when you leave school or college.