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Awards finalist Jordan Gilchrist reveals all

Jordan received his award from Jock Simpson, left, and Gary Mason from Edmundson

In our second chat with this year’s SELECT Industry Awards finalists, Jordan, 23, reveals how it felt to be runner-up in Apprentice of the Year – and how he managed to juggle FICA with fatherhood

Making the final of Apprentice of the Year was a great feeling – and a big surprise. I got a letter through the door, then had to go to a couple of interviews, and suddenly I was there in the final.

The night itself was brilliant. I went with my parents and girlfriend and some senior colleagues from Boston Networks. I didn’t even have a tuxedo, but luckily my bosses got me one for the night so I looked the part!

When I went back to work, a few guys were making jokes, but I think most of them were pretty chuffed.

Getting started

My mum always wanted me to get a trade. My dad’s a shop fitter and my uncle’s a plumber, but I wanted to do something different. I asked them what I should do and they said: “Try being a spark and see what happens.”

So I did a pre-apprentice course at Clydebank College to get a feel for it and really enjoyed it – the tutors were great.

The only tricky part was trying to juggle everything with a new baby. My daughter was born when I was in my second year, so trying to fit in college work, essays and nappies was a real challenge!

I’d highly recommend the course to anyone though – it has a high success rate for getting a job afterwards.

A varied career

I started out with Mercury Engineering, working on the Southern General, then moved to Boston Networks, where I finished my apprenticeship. It was a good place to work and I was doing plenty of different things from day to day.

I learned a lot at Boston and am probably most proud of the job I did with them in Edinburgh. There were about 900 bedrooms that had to be done in student accommodation in Holyrood, including full lighting, power and data.

I was there for a year and a bit, learning how to do fiber optics, which was great. After that, I decided I wanted to focus on the electrical side more, so I moved to AKD last November. I’m currently working just outside Irvine in Ayrshire, which isn’t too bad a drive as I live in Drumchapel in Glasgow.

FICA and the future

I studied and studied really hard for my FICA. I thought I’d failed because it’s hard – but it needs to be. Now I’ve passed and am working as an electrician, the main thing that I’ve learned is that I need to get out of bed and make money for my family!

Every day is like a school day; you’re always going to learn something new, especially when you’re working on-site. I’m keen to try new things and get more experience under my belt so I can take that extra step up the ladder.

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