Meet the Apprentice – Colette Atkins, Merck

March 10, 2022 - Martin Currie

Colette Atkins is an apprentice with the science and technology company Merck, based in Irvine. We spoke with her ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2022 to find out more about her interesting career path!

Why did you decide a Modern Apprenticeship was right for you?

I was working for Merck at the time and had asked how I develop within the company. I was advised that this course was available and would give me the qualifications required to progress in my career.

How is your Modern Apprenticeship going?

I am now halfway through my second year so only have a few months left to go! I have studied a variety of subjects all of which have been useful in the workplace. I have particularly enjoyed the practical work which we have done and have gained new techniques which I can use in the lab.

Did Covid have any impact on your Modern Apprenticeship?

In my first year of my apprenticeship, we were only allowed onsite for the first half of the year to do practical work. All other lectures were delivered over Microsoft Teams. This was slightly more challenging, but all of the lecturers went over and above to still deliver a good and interesting course.

The balance between college work and working on site – what was the arrangement and did you feel it worked for you?

I go to college on a Monday, and I am onsite the rest of the week. I study a couple of evenings a week and will do some extra study at weekends when I have exams. I feel this is a good balance as I am still in work four days a week and can keep up with my workload as well as my studies. Merck have been very flexible and allowed me to have some study days on a Monday if college is shut for holidays.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to someone who’s still at school and if so, why?

Yes! I have had the best of both worlds being able to study whilst still work and earn money. I feel that someone who has completed an apprenticeship would be a more attractive candidate to an employer as they have had the on-the-job experience as well as the qualifications.

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