Lerwick man Shane Johnson wanted to get into a career that could make his kids proud and a Modern Apprenticeship is helping him do just that.
Modern Apprenticeships let individuals work, earn and learn, studying towards formal training and qualifications while working in a full-time, paid role.
Vehicle maintenance apprentice Shane, works with Lerwick-based DFDS Shetland Transport and says that the apprenticeship has been a great opportunity for him.
Shane said: “I get a lot of satisfaction through my apprenticeship; seeing an engine that I’ve diagnosed then repaired and that it’s doing what it’s meant to be doing. If an engine came in not starting you build it all back up and, at the first turn of the key, it’s back in action. I find it really satisfying.”
Shane is currently working on his Level 3 qualification in heavy vehicle maintenance through Train Shetland and goes to Moray Firth Training Centre in Inverness on block release to complete the training component.
“I enjoy the training. The people that train us aren’t teachers, they’re people who have done the job,” he explained. “They know what it’s like. What we cover in class really helps me in my job and vice versa.”
As he has dyslexia, Shane will admit that the training side can be a struggle at times, which is why the Modern Apprenticeship was so appealing to him. He has the chance to learn in a hands-on way and his teachers and colleagues are all very supportive of his dyslexia diagnosis.
The 24-year-old said: “Because I’ve got dyslexia I do sometimes struggle with the academic side, but my employer and the training centre are supportive. I make sure I ask for notes and sit down for an hour at night and read it so that, when I go into class, I can ask questions and take part and understand.”
As well as the formal qualifications to do the job, Shane says that his confidence and people skills have improved. But for Shane, who lives with his wife, three children and stepson, the real appeal of the Modern Apprenticeship was the fact that he would not only get a head-start in a solid career, but he’d get paid too.
He said: “Getting paid helps me to provide for my kids, make sure there’s food on their tables, a roof over their heads and that they’re clothed and warm.”
DFDS Shetland Transport have been recruiting apprentices for the last two-and-a-half years and, according to owner Hamish Balfour, it’s been a positive thing for the business.
Hamish said: “Apprenticeships give the opportunity for the younger generation to come into the business and we can mould them into our way of working. Our apprentices have the opportunity to work, to gain confidence and to get that qualification that they set out to achieve. The hands-on learning is good for them too, particularly in this business.”