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Scottish Apprenticeship Week - Julie's story

Julie Dickson, 24, from Hamilton, joined the Scottish Gas apprenticeship scheme in January last year. She is now training to become an engineer at the Scottish Gas Academy in Hamilton. She applied for the programme whilst working at Scottish Gas’ contact centre in Uddingston to make appointments to fix boilers. 

 

Julie said: “I started working at Scottish Gas during a really bad winter. I would speak with engineers to make sure they were going to help customers who needed our support first, such as the elderly or those with young children. It was really inspirational hearing how they went the extra mile to help people stay safe and warm, despite heavy snow and freezing temperatures. So when I heard that we were recruiting for apprentices, I decided to apply and I couldn’t believe it when I was accepted!” 

 

When Julie arrived at the Scottish Gas Academy she instantly felt right at home. She said: “On my first day, I wasn’t surprised that I was the only female apprentice. I know, from my own experience, that women aren’t really encouraged to go down this route from school. All the apprentices are treated the same and the support and encouragement I get every day from my instructors is amazing. 

 

Talking about the training, she added: “The training is second to none and it has really built up my confidence as well as a lot of my general skills. I really like the fact there’s a mix of practical and theory on the course. I can be learning how to test a boiler in the classroom one minute then apply what I’ve learnt on a mock boiler in the workshop the next. We also get to shadow qualified engineers as well, so we’re fully prepared and confident in our abilities by the time we get to a customer’s home for the first time by ourselves.”

 

Julie was also inspired to become an apprentice engineer because of her father, who’s now very proud of her achievements. She said:  “My dad works for an aerospace engineering company and started his career as an apprentice. When I was 14, I went along to a ‘bring your child to work day’ at his firm, and that’s when I realised that a career in engineering was for me. I’m delighted I’ve had the chance to get on the road towards following in my dad’s footstep and I’m really excited about the future.”

 

Now Julie wants to use her experiences to inspire other women to apply. She said: “I’d encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship. You get to learn life-long skills and get paid to do a job that’s rewarding and enjoyable every day. My goal is to become one of the top engineers in my area to hopefully make other women realise they can get a career in engineering if they work hard.”

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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