Apprentice Achievements
Discovering Your Purpose

Discovering Your Purpose

My school journey ended long before my official leaving date.

Teaching was at best generic and devoid of passion in the critical years leading up to exams & I couldn’t visual how I’d use the information being imparted by our teachers.

I switched off!

I was then, after in-depth analysis, advised by my careers teacher to choose window cleaning as my career. I was matched with a window cleaner & sent on my way.

Some months later I found a job as a labourer in an engineering factory, partly because it was cold outside & partly because I was rubbish at cleaning windows, but I’d unwittingly put my foot on what was to be my career ladder.

I loved it.

I swept up, cleaned the toilet block (which was like painting a smelly Forth Road Bridge), made countless cuppa’s in between trips to the sandwich shop as well as learning to mark out, cut, drill, grind metal, fetch & carry & generally make sure that the skilled team had everything they needed.

I loved the smell, the noise, the banter & above all I loved seeing how Math’s, English & Science were applied to something practical.

Thankfully, my boss saw potential in me which resulted in an apprenticeship & a lifelong love of engineering & the smell of an engineering workshop!

Jumping forward a decade & I was given the opportunity to apply for a role as a workshop supervisor in a training school. Helping out in a technician role to support the teaching staff delivering engineering training.

It was at this point that I discovered my purpose.

I didn’t experience a light bulb moment, rather it was the gradual realisation that by using my experience of both being a learner & my skill as an engineer I was able to effectively help others apply their academically learned knowledge to something practical.


Being able to share my knowledge, skills, behaviours & experiences with others who in turn gained their own foothold on a career ladder gave me a renewed sense of what work was to me, enjoying every day & every new experience.

First one in, last one out & the opportunity to undertake teacher training which through a series of adventures led me to my current role.

Education isn’t a one size approach & whether academically gifted, or in my case not so much, applying learning to provide context is a valuable addition to the teachers learning aids and as we celebrate the National Apprenticeship Week 2021, I have the opportunity to reflect on my apprenticeship and the career opportunities it provided for me.

Our decisions when leaving school are important but we’re not bound by a single career choice & an apprenticeship is a great way to take that first step to discovering our purpose.

I hope you have a great week.