Engineering Apprenticeship is vital spark for Rachael’s career

A passion for metalwork inspired an Aberdeen student to secure an engineering apprenticeship with a leading sheet metal fabrication company.

Rachael Robertson (18) started a four-year apprenticeship at James Aiken Engineering Solutions this summer and is gaining new skills and experience with the company.

The former Torry Academy pupil is also studying Mechanical Engineering at North East Scotland College where one of her lecturers recommended that she apply for the apprenticeship, which included a competitive interview.

Rachael’s duties and training at James Aiken includes, welding work in the workshop, site visits to factories and supply vessels at Aberdeen Harbour where she has assisted in the installation of various ventilation ducts and support steel work.

Rachael said: “It can be a surprise to people when they ask where I work and what I do, but I love it. Since I was young I’ve been interested in metalwork and I’ve always wanted to do this for a career.

“It’s great being able to work with the rest of the guys in the workshop, they’re very experienced and are always happy to share their knowledge with me.

“I want to develop my skills and experience here and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to work for the company once I’ve completed my apprenticeship.”

Rachael’s interest in engineering and design was sparked from an early age when she helped her dad who works as a joiner and was intrigued as to how she could solve problems and create design solutions.

Away from the workshop, Rachael is a keen horse rider, a passion she has had since she started primary school, and enjoys hacks in the countryside around Aberdeen.

Alongside her apprenticeship she attends college every Wednesday to study metal work and must complete several modules and assessments.

Rachael said: “A lot of my friends have gone on to study nursing, science or have part-time jobs in offices so I’m doing something quite different.

“I’m really enjoying the apprenticeship here at James Aiken, the variety of work every day is interesting and each morning it’s a surprise to find out what we’ll be working on. I’m learning so much on the job which will help me in the future.”

James Aiken Engineering Solutions has been operating in Aberdeen since 1977. Originally based near Aberdeen Harbour, the company moved to a new £1million base in the city’s Bridge of Don area in 2015.

The business is part of the Jasmine Holdings Group portfolio of companies, which also includes integrated communications company, Jasmine Ltd.

Neil Jolly, director of James Aiken Engineering Solutions, said: “We’re delighted to have Rachael training with us for her apprenticeship. She is keen to learn and gets on very well with the team which is very important in any workplace.

“In just a few months with us Rachael has already demonstrated a keen eye for the skills needed in metal work and understands the importance of doing a job well.

“The apprenticeship is a great way for her to develop her skills with us and the four-year term helps to offer some stability for the years ahead. Rachael has an exciting future and we’re proud to play our part in developing her career.”