Our newest Graduate Engineer, Liam Brannan, is now six months into his career here at AWD, having been recruited through the Scotgrad programme which places new graduates with growing Scottish businesses to give them much needed practical experience, and to give SME’s the talent they need to get ahead.
Becoming a permanent employee after his initial project placement, Liam is now a much-valued member of the team, making a vital contribution to our growing success. We caught up with him to ask about his experiences so far.
Q What kind of challenges did you face as a graduate looking for employment?
Most of the jobs advertised require that graduates have relevant experience – this is something I didn’t have, which made it very difficult to find a job related to my degree, especially as there are so many applicants for every job, so it can be very hard to get your foot in the door and prove yourself to an employer.
As a consultancy, we offer a broad range of services in Temporary Works, Access Engineering and Structural Design and the Scotgrad programme has allowed Liam to build vital on the job experience while developing his engineering knowledge in these specialist areas.
Q How has your technical expertise developed over the last 6 months?
I am much more confident in my abilities, and I feel my skills have developed massively within the last 6 months. Almost every project I’m involved in is different which means I can learn new skills and aspects of engineering every day. I recently went to visit one of our clients in London and these opportunities really help to see how the work I do is managed on site.
Scotgrad specifically places graduates with SME’s to help these businesses grow, but this is something Liam sees as a benefit for graduates too.
Q What are the advantages of working for an SME?
In many bigger companies, employees can end up feeling like a number, but at AWD the working environment is very personal, and I feel valued as part of a close group working towards a common goal. The team here have been amazingly supportive which has helped make my transition from university to working life much easier.
Liam’s focus is now on investing in building the skills and experience to fulfil his career ambitions.
Q How do you see your career developing at AWD?
I want to keep growing and learning and to continue to be an integral part of the team here at AWD. I am enrolled in AWD’s ICE Training Scheme which in the longer term will help guide my development towards achieving chartered engineer status. For now, I’m now confident enough to work on projects with minimal supervision so I’m working towards becoming an Assistant Design Engineer which will increase my responsibilities.
AWD Managing Director Malachy Ryan sees many benefits of the Scotgrad scheme for employers, he said, “Our Scottish Enterprise Business Gateway Advisor told us about the scheme and when we met Liam, we knew straight away that he would fit in perfectly with the culture at AWD. His limited experience was not a barrier for us – we believe it is more important to recruit employees who share our values and our client-focussed approach, and that everything else can be taught. Especially with the current skills shortage within STEM industries, the Scotgrad scheme and others like it are important in ensuring that talented individuals don’t fall through the net through lack of experience or confidence and that we are able to retain this talent within the industry.”
You can read more about the recent projects Liam has been working on here.