Scottish Apprenticeship Week – Cameron InnesCameron Innes is a second year mature apprentice at our Longstone Depot

Cameron Innes joined Lothian’s mature apprentice scheme in 2022. Cameron had no mechanical experience before he joined the company, but he was always eager to find out more about engineering and how vehicles were maintained.

Cameron’s dad works at Lothian and he made Cameron aware of the apprenticeship programme as he was leaving school. Due to the pandemic, Lothian paused its Apprenticeship Scheme for new entrants for a few years, meaning that when the scheme opened again in 2022, Cameron was too old to join as a ‘young’ apprentice.

However, he was still able to join the company as a mature apprentice, and he’s now well into his second year of training at Lothian. He has come a long way in a short space of time, and is already eying up a long, successful future at the business.

“I was working at Marks and Spencer when the apprenticeship scheme opened up again, so I came into this with no mechanical background,” he said. “I had a real eagerness to learn and as my dad was a driver at Lothian, he thought it would be a good move for me.

“I’ve picked up so many skills so far. I’ve really got into the training and it’s been really exciting since I joined.”

The hands-on experience that Lothian offers its trainees is unique from many other apprentice programmes. Lothian’s apprentices learn as they work, and play a key role in the maintenance of Lothian’s fleet, which delivers for over 2 million customers per week.

Cameron much prefers this style of learning, believing that it’s the best way to pick up new skills.

“I applied to the scheme because of the nature of the learning,” he said. “I had to watch the guys a few times when attempting new tasks, but that’s how you learn effectively.

“Now the guys in the garages are happy to let me attempt tasks myself”

Having left behind his previous job working in the café at his local Marks and Spencer supermarket, Cameron found the career change he was looking for at Lothian. Determined to throw himself into something completely different, his positive attitude and eagerness to learn meant he was able to pick everything up so quickly.

He is inspired by the fact that many of the managers and supervisors in Lothian’s engineering teams are former apprentices themselves, highlighting the pathway Lothian offers its trainees towards a long career.

“I was looking for a job for life, and I’ve definitely found the opportunity of one here,” he said. “My dad told me how he’d seen so many apprentices come through their training and continue on within the business.”

Lothian’s apprenticeship scheme offers a sense of accomplishment that not many other programmes do. By learning in a working garage environment, the trainees can see the fruits of their work in front of them. The vehicles they learn their trade on are the same vehicles which go out in service every day across Edinburgh and the Lothians. Although that may bring added pressure to the apprentices, it does equal a more rewarding experience too.

“It feels good to see a bus you’ve been working on out on the roads,” admitted Cameron.

“You do feel good knowing that you played your part in fixing or servicing the bus and its out on the road because of something you did right.”

Cameron is half-way through his three-year apprenticeship already, and while he has learned a lot so far, he knows he definitely has more learning to go.

Lothian’s structured training means the learning for apprentices gets progressively more advanced as they work through their apprenticeships. The pay goes up each year, too, rewarding its trainees for successfully completing each year of the schedule.

“The training has stepped up in the last year, especially the last few months,” he said.

“It’s been the quickest 18 months of my life but probably the best, too. I’ve just learned so much from the team at Longstone.

“It feels like there’s not much time left but every day we’re learning and taking things away with us so I’m just trying to learn one day at a time.”

Another positive of Lothian’s Apprentice Programme is the team spirit across its workshops. Lothian is proud to boast about its high-quality, hugely-experienced engineering teams across the business.

Everyone plays their part to ensure the trainees have the platform they need to succeed in the training. Cameron is thankful for the support he’s received so far, and the camaraderie between the apprentices too.

“The guys are great; we’ve got people from all different backgrounds and their knowledge is incredible.

“I’m still getting tasked with things that I haven’t tried yet, and if I’m ever struggling, I know I can just ask one of the guys and they’ll help.

“Knowing you’ve got that help really goes a long way to helping you succeed.”

Alongside his fellow apprentices, both young and mature, Cameron believes that Lothian is a great place to learn the trade and gain the qualifications needed to become a time-served mechanic.

As a mature apprentice, Cameron already has experience of working a full-time job, and thinks this has enabled him to hit the ground running during his time at Lothian. He believes he picked up some skills from his M&S days that he is still relying on now.

“Speaking to customers on a daily basis really helped me with my communication skills,” he said. “I’m also comfortable working in a team, which has made learning from the guys easier for me and settling in to a new team at Lothian.”

Cameron’s favourite thing about his time at Lothian so far is the feeling that everyone wants him to succeed, from his fellow apprentices to his colleagues, supervisors, managers and directors.

In just 18 months, Cameron has discovered a new passion for engineering, and believes he’s in the right place at the right time. He credits his positive experience with the connections and friendships he’s made in a short space of time, coupled with the abundance of skills he’s developed at the business.

He’s well aware of his surroundings too, and has an eye on progressing at the business, just like his colleagues have done previously.

“I love working on the tools, so I’d like to stay, post-apprenticeship and continue to develop my skills on the tools,” he said.

“However, I would like to progress at Lothian and keep climbing as high as I can like the managers and supervisors before me.”

Join Lothian's Apprenticeship Programme!

Applications are now open to join Lothian’s award-winning engineering team on its apprenticeship programme. The deadline to apply is Friday 29 March 2024. Details of the two apprenticeship types available can be found on our Apprenticeship page.