Lyle McAlpine (18), a recently recruited apprentice engineer from LifeScan visited his former secondary school last week to lend a hand to the Young Engineers and Science Club which inspired his career.
Lyle's visit followed his induction as a STEM ambassador, a role which involves him sharing his enthusiasm for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with other young people.
Lyle is one of three apprentices taken on by LifeScan in October last year after gaining qualifications in maths, physics, chemistry and graphic communication at Invergordon Academy and succeeding in a rigorous application and interview process. In his sixth year at school he was a keen member of the school's Young Engineers Club and gave up his lunchtimes to work on engineering projects such as building a remote controlled car.
Lenny Thumath, Maintenance Leader at LifeScan and also a STEM ambassador, believes Lyle's experience in the Young Engineers Club played a big part in his success securing an apprenticeship: "The Young Engineers Club is a really important link between school and industry and helps to give young people a better understanding of how the theory relates to the practical. It also helps them to develop problem solving skills and learn how to work as a team which we're looking for them to demonstrate in their applications."
The Young Engineers Club at Invergordon Academy is one of a network of 80 clubs in the Highlands and Islands which is coordinated by SCDI and supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise as part of STEM North of Scotland, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of young people with STEM skills in the region.
Lyle is one of more than 100 STEM ambassadors at LifeScan who are given time during their working day, and many give their own time, to help schools with STEM related activities and projects such as the Young Engineers Clubs.
Mr Thumath said: "It's great to have these young apprentices as ambassadors as they're perfect role models and can really relate to the school pupils. They get a lot out of it themselves too and we see them grow in confidence all the time."
For more information on the STEM ambassador programme visit www.stemnorthofscotland.com or call Laura Robertson at HIE on 01463 244528.