A TEENAGER is building towards a career in the construction industry thanks to an apprenticeship programme.

Shannon McGuckian has secured a place on a civil engineering course while still a student at St Stephen's High in Port Glasgow.

The 17-year-old is working towards a nationally recognised qualification, equivalent to a higher, after signing up for a foundation apprenticeship.

The programme allows youngsters to make inroads into their chosen careers while continuing their studies at school and gaining vital experience in the workplace.

Shannon was set to quit St Stephen's after S4 but was persuaded to stay on and enrol onto the programme.

She said: "I felt I was finished with school at the end of fourth year after my exam results hadn't gone to plan.

"I'd considered applying for a modern apprenticeship in engineering.

"However, after finding out about the foundation apprenticeship my mum and dad encouraged me to go for it and I'm so glad I took their advice."

Shannon chose a foundation apprenticeship in civil engineering, delivered through West College Scotland, alongside highers in English, maths and physics.

She is now in the second year of her course, which includes a work placement at civil engineering experts Landscapes and Contracts.

There she has learned a wide range of skills, including using a laser to set out co-ordinates for other engineers.

Shannon said: "The best bit about the foundation apprenticeship is definitely getting out of the classroom and getting hands-on experience at the site.

"It's also rewarding putting the theory from college into practice in a real working environment.

"It's helped open my eyes to what I'm capable of and definitely developed my confidence.

"At first I wasn't sure about doing the foundation apprenticeship but now would say that anyone in a similar situation should go for it.

"It is definitely a better option than leaving in fourth year and allows you to get a taste of a subject you wouldn't normally experience in school."

Adam MacAlister, a project manager at Landscapes and Contracts, says Shannon has excelled during her time with the business.

He said: "It's really refreshing to have foundation apprentices, like Shannon, who want to learn and have a genuine interest in what we’re doing here."

Shannon has been sharing her experience as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019, which runs until Friday and is organised by national agency Skills Development Scotland.

Damien Yeates, chief executive of SDS, said: "Young people like Shannon show how work-based learning is providing the skills needed for a successful Scotland.

"We want more people and businesses to benefit from the growing number of opportunities available in different sectors and workplaces."

* For information about apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.scot online