Awards finalist Jordan Gilchrist reveals all

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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