Renfrewshire Council

Council apprentice advances to national finals

A bright spark in training: Callum Rae's journey to success and his aspirations for the future

Graeme Kilday and Callum Rae
Callum and Graeme at SECTT heats
From apprentice to rising star, Callum Rae has taken a big step towards becoming the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust's (SECTT) Apprentice of the Year 2023. With his exceptional skills and determination, Callum has triumphed at the SECTT Glasgow & West heats, securing his place at the national finals in October.

As a second-year apprentice electrician within our Building Services team, Callum's apprenticeship journey is one of commitment to learning and growth. We caught up with Callum and his supervisor Graeme Kilday, to find out more about his inspiring story and his aspirations for the future.


Hi Callum and Graeme. First off, a massive well done to you Callum on winning the Apprentice of the Year for the West of Scotland. How do you feel about taking it to the next level and representing us nationally?

"Thank you! To be honest, I'm nervous. During the second stage, I didn't think I'd done enough, and I knew where I could've improved. So, I was pleasantly surprised to win. Going for the national title is a huge test for me because I always put a lot of pressure on myself, and I don't want to disappoint anyone especially after all the great support I've had at work and college." 

Getting this far is already a huge achievement and testament to your abilities. How does it all make you feel about your apprenticeship journey and where it's going?

"I'm happy when I think about what the future might hold. When I first started the apprenticeship, I was delighted to have a go and give it my all, but I didn't expect it to go this well. My council colleagues have always placed their trust in me and that has really helped to build my confidence.

What do you enjoy most about being an apprentice?

"I get to be hands on and there's lots of practical experience. For someone like me, that's better than following an academic path. Most of the career advice I got in school was geared towards university, which wasn't right for me. I much prefer learning as I work alongside people on the job and I'm grateful to all my colleagues who have been so helpful in showing me the ropes. I'd especially like to thank Garry Cooney and Jake Brown for all they have done, I couldn't have progressed this far without them.  

Graeme, what do you think makes Callum stand out from the crowd?
"His attitude. He's great to work with and nothing is ever an issue for him, he really listens to what he is being taught and he's always keeping busy and finding ways to contribute.

"He also has a great all-round knowledge, and he excels at the theory and testing side of things. He has a real head for the numbers as well as an ability to apply the regulations and interpret them correctly."

Callum Rae - SECTT Apprentice of the Year 2023 Glasgow and West heats
Callum during the heats assessment
Callum, apart from getting to the final stage of SECTT Apprentice of the Year awards, have there been any other stand out moments?

"I was recently involved in the electrical testing that took place at Renfrewshire House in Paisley. That was a memorable experience for me because I felt very much part of the team and I was trusted to work by myself." 

Graeme explained: "I can trust Callum to carry out work safe in the knowledge that it will be done to a high standard. He's shown a superb understanding of the commercial and industrial side of the business, and he really gets how the installations differ from the domestic jobs which is something that some electricians struggle with throughout their careers."

Callum, what are your future goals? Does hearing high praise boost your confidence that you can achieve them?

"It's great to be recognised because it does remind me that I'm doing well. Right now, I'm focussed on learning and preparing as much as I can for the Apprentice of the Year final. From there the goal is to pass my Final Integrated Competency Assessment (FICA) on the first attempt, becoming a Graded Electrician and completing my apprenticeship a year early. Then I plan to become recognised by the Joint Industry Board (JIB) as an Approved Electrician."

It certainly looks like you have bright future ahead of you. What would you say to colleagues who are considering an apprenticeship or those that want to support someone who is?

"Look into apprenticeship opportunities and start preparing now. If someone is still in school, they can think about choosing the right subjects and consider a foundation apprenticeship. If they have left school, they should find out what they need to do to be accepted into a modern apprenticeship or a graduate apprenticeship programme and try to build up their experience in that area through work or volunteering."

Apprenticeships at Renfrewshire Council

While this year's apprenticeship programme kicks off from next month, now is a great time to start planning ahead for next year. You can find out about the different apprenticeship opportunities available with Renfrewshire Council on our website and start preparing a brighter future for you or someone you know. 

As an organisation that values learning and seeks to nurture our local talent, we are proud to be part of Callum's journey and are delighted to see him making the most of his apprenticeship at the Council. We wish him the very best of luck for the SECTT Apprentice of the Year finals in October and we can't wait to see what further achievements he will undoubtedly make as he continues his apprenticeship journey with us.

About the awards

The SECTT is a non-profit organisation that is responsible for managing and coordinating the electrical apprenticeship program in Scotland, maintaining training standards, and promoting collaboration across the industry. Formed of a partnership between SELECT (the Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland) and Unite the Union, each year the SECTT put the best performing apprentice electricians in Scotland through their paces on a local and national stage, testing their theory and practical skills in the search for their next Apprentice of the Year.

Published on Thursday 06 July 2023