I’d never thought about getting into construction before my apprenticeship. My family had fishing boats so I worked on them for about two years.

It was hard work and a real eye-opener! I needed to get a start somewhere else, but I had no real qualifications so I couldn’t really plan ahead.

I’m 22 now but when I was younger I was always around cars, fixing them, tinkering, that sort of thing. I was hoping to move onto a course in car mechanics and maybe start an apprenticeship in that. I remember there wasn’t that much work around at the time at all.

Things changed for me when my cousin got in touch about a job at a company he was working at. I was lucky enough to get in there and it turned into an apprenticeship.

It’s been a completely different experience for me. I didn’t really know what to expect from plant mechanics at first to be honest, but there was a lot of variety with vans, 4x4s, heavy haulers, lorries and the plant machines themselves.

Your attitude

I was shocked when I got Apprentice of the Year for plant mechanics in my second year. Then the same year I got a Stars of the Future award as well. The following year, I got the overall apprentice award for my college.

To top it off I was in Edinburgh in December and won the Scottish Building Association’s Civil Engineering Apprentice of the Year down there. It’s been a fair old surprise how things have gone!

I can’t say I was ever one to study hard in school – I left at the end of my fourth year. I wasn’t one to sit down and look at a book for a long stretch either. It just goes to show that it’s not only how much you study, it’s about your attitude as well.

My parents were really pleased. My family have always been out fishing, so for them to see me doing well at something different and the hard work behind it was a great moment.

It builds you up

I see an apprenticeship as a good way to find out what works for you. It was a better way for me because you’re making money while you’re learning.

A couple of people I know went to university instead. My cousin went to Glasgow for electrical engineering and it was maybe a year before he managed to get a job.

A couple of old mates and I went down the route of apprenticeships and have been working full time since.

Personally, I see it as a better way than heading to university, depending on what it is you want to do. It builds you up as a person.