Scottish Apprenticeship Week – Wojciech HernikWojciech has been at Lothian for 15 years and joined the Mature Apprenticeship last year

Wojciech Hernik joined Lothian in January 2009, and has enjoyed a long and successful career at Lothian to date.

After over a decade at the business, Wojciech joined Lothian’s Apprenticeship scheme as a mature apprentice. As he was previously a fueller/shunter and a labourer at Lothian, he was no stranger to the Engineering workshops across the business and already enjoyed a good relationship with the teams.

Wojciech always an interest in Engineering and began watching intently as Lothian’s experienced engineers went to work on maintaining Lothian’s fleet of over 700 vehicles.

“I always wanted to do something more mechanical based,” he said, “so I’m delighted to be in the apprenticeship course.

“I wanted to progress my career at Lothian and this is a great way of doing so.

“This is a completely new challenge for me. It’s what I want to be doing and I hope to get a job at the end of my training.”

Lothian’s Apprenticeship Scheme involves on-the-job learning as trainees take their place in one of Lothian’s five workshops across the business. The apprentices attend college classes at the GTG base in Newbridge to learn more about the industry and complement their practical learning at Lothian.

Wojciech believes he benefits from the hands-on learning on the course, which makes learning the various components of bus maintenance easier to understand.

In the second year of his three-year course, Wojciech acknowledges the step-up in training from his first year and the more independent aspect of learning the trade. Another sign of this step-up is the variation of shifts that Wojciech was been working this year, giving him more of an understanding of the role of Lothian’s mechanics and the tasks they complete every day.

“I’ve been on different shifts this year, helping with the runout of buses in the morning as well as helping with any faults that are detected when those buses come back,” he said.

“The training is more advanced in second year, and there’s still a lot of things to learn before we’re finished.”

Wojciech is thriving in his new chapter at Lothian, and credits the knowledge and experience of his colleagues as the reason why he’s taken to his new role so quickly.

“The knowledge the guys have in the workshops is incredible,” he said.

“Without their knowledge, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. Their experience is invaluable. The guys are always happy to help you learn something new and make sure you’re keeping up.”

The Lothian Apprenticeship scheme is a challenging yet rewarding course, with structured pay for apprentices so they earn more as they progress through their training. Lothian currently has 24 modern apprentices on its books and Wojciech believes the learning environment has led to a strong bond between the apprentices learning their trade.

As a mature apprentice, Wojciech has already acquired a wealth of working experience, which he believes meant he could enjoy a running-start to his training. As he had worked at Lothian for 13 years previously, including stints at each of Lothian’s workshops, he already knew most of the guys he’d be learning from, meaning he had a step on the new-starts coming in from elsewhere. He said: “I think my life and work experience has given me an advantage over the other trainees coming in.”

Wojciech loves his new role as an apprentice engineer, and believes he has made remarkable progress since his first day on the course, and that is the most pleasing aspect of his learning so far.

“Looking back at where I was when I started, to where I am now, is really pleasing for me,” he said. “I think not just myself but all the apprentices have become better in that time, and we can only get better from here.”

Looking ahead to the future after his training, Wojciech wants to remain at Lothian and add to his already invaluable service to the company, which current expands over 15 years. Although it appears that now he has found his true calling as an engineer, he hopes to remain on the tools for as long as he can, and keep progressing up the engineering ladder.

On offer for Lothian’s apprentices is the platform to enjoy a long, lasting and successful career at the business. Across Lothian’s engineering teams, are managers and supervisors who were once part of the Lothian Apprenticeship scheme themselves. The current crop of trainees can actually see the promise of a career in front of them, should they possess the correct attitude and a willingness to learn.

Wojciech embodies this spirit, and has always thrown himself into new challenges during his time at Lothian. He is embracing this new chance and is determined to make a career as an engineer at the place he has called home for years.

Lothian’s mature apprenticeship offers a career change for many looking for a fresh start. The course is among the most well-regarded in the bus industry, and the apprenticeship field too. Lothian takes pride in its own people, and with Wojciech’s progression as a shunter, a labourer and now a mature apprentice, stands as a testament that Lothian will always reward the right people with the right attitude and work ethic.

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.