Every day is different

By Laura McDermott

 After completing my GCSE’s at St Aidan’s High School in Enniskillen, I went to South West College to do a BTech Extended Diploma in Construction.

It was Apprenticeship Week in February 2020 that prompted me to start looking at different options and pathways, and so I applied through Workplus, with Tetra Tech as my first choice. I was invited for interview in May and then offered a place over the summer. 

I started in that September, and, so far, so good! Many of my friends opted for full–time university courses and sometimes it can be hard not to follow what the vast majority of your friends are doing, but I’m so glad I chose the apprenticeship pathway.


“Every day is different.” 


Some days I’m working from home, some days I’m in the office and others I’m on site. The balance of work and learning works for me. Seeing the work on site makes the academic learning very real. My university day is a Monday and then I’m getting experience and meeting new people the rest of the week. 

If I had opted to go to university full–time, I would be graduating in 4 years and then starting out in a company. At 20, I’m on a great starting salary, working in a fantastic company, at university, getting experience and still have the time and energy to socialise with friends!

It’s a strange time with COVID–19 and it’s hard for full–time students. A lot of my friends have gone back to living at home and many now don’t have part–time jobs because of restrictions and fewer opportunities. At work, I’m involved in some exciting projects including the Royal Maternity Hospital. 

I have dedicated mentors both in mechanical and electrical engineering and all my colleagues are brilliant – sharing knowledge, checking in with me, helping me learn and eager to see me develop. 

“I feel very well looked after and happy with life.”  



I was honoured to have been selected as an ambassador for Maths Week 2021. I have also been sent on lot of training courses with Tetra tech which have helped me greatly. 

If I could change one thing, it would be to see more females come through the engineering pathway. Hopefully that will change as professional apprenticeships become more common place. 

I know I’ve made the right decision and I’m so glad I looked into apprenticeships in more detail earlier this year. My advice would be to go and get work experience if you can, and, if you’re given the opportunity to be an apprentice – take it!

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