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Craig strikes gold

Scottish apprentices take top spots in UK SkillELECTRIC competition

A group photo of the award winners with the team from SECTT and SELECT
The winning apprentices with Scott Foley, far left, Fiona Harper, centre, and Alick Smith, far right

After some extremely tough competition, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 SECTT Apprentice of the Year contest.

The 1st Stage apprentice winners are:

  • Gold – Milly Smith, C S McKerlie Electrical Services, Dumfries & Galloway College

  • Silver – Adam Middlemiss, W P Purves, Borders College

  • Bronze – Kalum Low, M S Electrical, Moray College,

The winners from the 2nd Stage apprentice category are:

  • Gold – Danny McBean, Grants (Dufftown) Ltd, Moray College (see facing page)

  • Silver – Andrew Campbell, Jordan Electrics Ltd, Edinburgh College, Sighthill Campus

  • Bronze – Nathan Mills, Intelligent Electrical Solutions, New College Lanarkshire, Motherwell Campus.

The results are the culmination of a long process, which began when SECTT Training Officers and college staff held discussions in May to select the best 1st and 2nd Stage apprentice for each college in Scotland.

Regional competitions were then held in June for the North, East and West, consisting of a three-and-a-half hour practical assessment of lighting and power circuits.

After the exercise was assessed by Training & Development Manager Barrie McKay and Senior Training Officer Craig Johnston, the apprentices undertook a one-hour theory assessment of 50 questions based on topics they had covered at college.

The scores from both assessments were then collated to provide North, East and West winners for both stages, with all six apprentices facing an interview panel on 26 October.

After being quizzed on a range of industry-based questions by The Secretary of the SJIB, Fiona Harper, SJIB Trustee Alick Smith and Scott Foley, Regional Officer at Unite the Union and Chair of the SECTT Trustees, the winners were then decided.

Barrie said: “The standard of entrants this year was once again extremely high and the panel was impressed by the maturity and professionalism of each candidate.”



SECTT manages high-quality training on behalf of the SJIB. To find out more about SECTT and its work, call 0131 445 5659, email or visit


Pupils rise to the challenge

Pupils construct a garden trellis
Pupils hard at work

The first heats in this year’s Construction and Built Environment Challenge (CABEC) have been held, with great enthusiasm from challenge providers and schools alike.

As cabletalk went to press, eight out of 10 heats had been completed, with the excited winners looking forward to the final at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange in January.

Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT, said: “So far, 240 S2 pupils have taken part in a series of challenges from building wooden picnic tables to understanding how to assess heat loss in buildings.

“The final will hold plenty of further challenges and I’m delighted that Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, has agreed to present the prizes.”


The talent of tomorrow: Danny McBean

A portrait of Danny in his hardhat and hi-viz jacket
Danny McBean, Apprentice at Grants

Name: Danny McBean Age: 20 Position: Electrical apprentice, Stage 3 Works: Grants (Dufftown) Ltd Studies at: UHI Moray Hobbies: Mountain biking and electronics

What made you think of becoming an electrician?

It started with school. As soon as I could choose my own subjects, I got rid of anything to do with English and instead studied maths, physics, chemistry and engineering – basically, all the STEM subjects I could take! What also helped was that my dad is the college lecturer for electrical installation.

Was it difficult to get an apprenticeship?

No, not really. I sent in my CV and my qualifications, then got an interview, and about a week or two later they said I had got the job.

How have you found it?

It’s been pretty good. It’s not particularly nice when it’s minus two degrees and you’re working outside, but that’s part of the job, and I wouldn’t change it.

Was the college training what you expected? What do you enjoy the most and what’s the most challenging?

I studied Advanced Higher Physics, so I knew most of the physics behind the theory in college. Anything trade-specific, like phases and inductor circuits,

I hadn’t done before and didn’t know but, I did find most of it pretty easy thanks to studying physics in school.

How about working on site?

I like doing trade work, especially anything industrial, which is great because Grants is an industrial company so I get to do that a lot.

Has there been anything about the job that’s surprised you?

No, I don’t think so. My dad explained everything before, so I was ready and knew what I was going to be doing.

How helpful have SECTT and your training officers been during your journey?

If I have any questions to do with college or what I’m entitled to, I’m able to phone

my training officer. My training officer changed recently, but they were both helpful.

What does the future hold?

I’ve got three different options. One would be studying electrical engineering at uni because that was something I had aimed to do before taking on my apprenticeship. The reason I didn’t was because I had thought it would just be better to learn hands-on at the job. Grants are currently putting someone through their degree, and they do about two days a week at uni, and three days working for Grants, so I’m looking to do something like that to get my degree as my second option. Or, third, wait until I can become an approved electrician and start my own company and go into an upcoming technology like renewables.

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