Fabrication Apprentice Joe McGarrigle joined the Malin Group in January 2021, having heard about the opportunity while at Glasgow Clyde College studying for his NC in Fabrication and Welding.

Photo credit: Peter Devlin

I’ve always been interested in making things, I think it’s very satisfying making something from nothing.

When I did my access to engineering course, building and fabricating was easily the part I liked best and so the NC in Fabrication and Welding and then this fabrication apprenticeship were obvious next steps for me.

We use mostly thick metal as opposed to thin metal and I enjoy the fact that there is lots of proper in-house training and certification from the company so you really get to know how to do things properly.

Right now, we are doing jobs for Hinkley Point Power Station. We are building walkways and access points which is interesting with plenty to learn and do.

Although it has only been six months, I feel like I have learned a lot since I joined the company, and I am building my skills all the time.

One of the most useful things has been learning to read drawings correctly. If you mess up reading the drawing, you mess up the job, so it’s a vital skill to have if you want to do things properly. Taking tips and advice from others and getting to be more efficient at that has been something I’ve enjoyed and it will be extremely useful in future, especially on the bigger jobs.

I also like the location here and I like working on the Clyde. There are lots of good people and everyone is helpful. There’s always something to do and there’s not an awful lot of downtime which I like.

One thing I particularly enjoyed was when me and Jimmy worked on a Wheelhouse Cabin for a boat. It took a while to do it and the weather conditions at the time were poor, but once it was done, it was great to see it painted and sent away.

It’s a good feeling when you see something come in as a pile of metal and leave as a finished product!

I definitely enjoy my job and I’m looking forward to working in fabrication for a long time to come. If anyone else was interested in becoming an apprentice here, I’d say go for it, but be prepared that you won’t know everything straight away. The NC builds your knowledge of key principles but there is so much more to learn on the job. It’s so different working under time constraints and material constraints, so absorb, respect and remember what people tell you so you can keep building your skills.