Foundation Apprentices Summer Placements – Luke, Christopher, and Nathan’s story

July 22, 2019 - Katie Ralston

It’s that time of year again, when the Engineering Foundation Apprentices have finished year 1 of their course, and start their summer placement.

The placement involves two weeks working at a local engineering company, where they get the opportunity to experience the different types of jobs and routes available in their chosen industry.

We caught up with some of the FA’s who selected GE Caledonian for their summer placement.


Luke Burns

Carrick Academy

I think the Foundation Apprenticeship is a good opportunity as I want to go down the engineering route. My teacher told me about it in 4th year, and said it was a really good course to go on.

The first year was a good year, it went in really quick. I did think it would be a bit more hands on, but I can’t complain. My favourite part was the practical work and aeronautical fundamentals, which were both interesting. Most of the units on the course were good though.

I chose GE Caledonian for my work placement as they are a great employer. I start at 8am, but I arrive for 7:30am, and finish at 3pm. It’s a great day here.

I have been in the high pressure compressor (HPC) and the low pressure turbine (LPT) areas, which is where the engines are stripped and assembled. I have learnt so much being here. It’s a lot of hands on activities, rather than just shadowing someone which has been great. The time has flown by during my first week on placement. I am really enjoying it here.

I am hoping to get a Modern Apprenticeship with GE Caledonian next year. The staff have been great, they have made sure I have their contact details and have given me a real insight into what they are looking for in an apprentice.

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Luke Burns

Christopher Easton

Cumnock Academy

“The course is a great insight into companies like GE Caledonian, UTC and Spirit. It’s a good stepping stone into an apprenticeship, it seems to be the way forward these days.

The first year has been brilliant, it’s straightforward in the first couple of weeks then gets more challenging, but that’s good. I started doing 5 subjects at school, then I realised I could take this course as one of my subjects, so now I use my free periods to keep up with my school work and college work. It’s worked out really well.

Being in the workshop is my favourite part of the course. To be honest that’s what kept me there, I am definitely more of a practical learner.

My first week at GE Caledonian has been great and really interesting. It’s a lot to take in but I have enjoyed it all. It’s been a good mix between shadowing and actually getting to do hands on activities. I have been working in repair, where I lifted parts on to the machines. I helped make sure the machines were at the right measurement to cut the metal that’s needed. I have been locking parts together so they can be processed in other parts of the workshop. I have also been scrapping metal  and then putting the rest away to be felled. I am looking forward to my next week here.

In the future I am hoping to get a Modern Apprenticeship in an aeronautical company. GE Caledonian would be a great place.

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Christopher Easton

Nathan Dunbar

Ardrossan Academy

When I was in 4th year, my dad helped me get my work experience week at GE Caledonian, I enjoyed it so much that I thought this could be the career route for me. My mum heard an advert for the Foundation Apprenticeship and encouraged me to apply.

I have really enjoyed the first year of the course, especially the practical side and the unit on the theory of flight. Learning how to use different tools in the workshop has made my work placement easier, as I have already used them. The theory of flight unit has also helped me have a basic understanding of how an engine works, so that is useful here as well.

I have really enjoyed my placement so far. I have been taking parts off the low pressure turbine, and have been learning how to strip an engine for it to be processed and moved to the next part of the workshop. At the moment we are building up the high pressure turbine, using tools to add and remove bolts.

I am still getting use to waking up at 6:30am and getting ready to come to work, but that will take a bit of time before it feels normal. The staff have been great here, they take the time to tell me what we are doing and explain why it’s done.

Next year I plan to get a Modern Apprenticeship, hopefully at GE Caledonian. In mechanical or aeronautical engineering. I don’t think university is for me, I think I will learn much better on an apprenticeship and at college.

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Nathan Dunbar

Aidan McIntyre, Apprentice Co-ordinator, from GE Caledonian commented “The Foundation Apprentices (FA) have come in with a first class attitude, ready to learn, and put the skills they have learned on the course into practice. The feedback we have received from our staff has been brilliant. Our staff have been working closely with them to build their skills and give them a real insight into what a career at GE Caledonian is like. They are now on our radar for future employment.

As a company GE Caledonian believes in being a part of the community and helping to develop the young workforce. Being involved in the Foundation Apprenticeship programme gives us the opportunity to get to know the FA’s and be a part of moulding the future engineers in our industry. It also offers a pipeline of talent into our Modern Apprenticeship programme that we know have the skills and knowledge we are looking for.”


Are you interested in a Foundation Apprenticeship? Find out more about the courses here.

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