Apprenticeship Week Spotlight: Reah Cairns and Becky Laing

Becky Laing and Reah Cairns are employed by Sparrows Groups, and have both recently completed their Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Business and Administration through NESCol.

Reah (left) and Becky at Sparrows

Reah works within the Finance team as an Accounts Assistant and Becky as a Trainee Inspection Support Engineer within the Inspection Services team – both successfully completed the apprenticeship programme within 12 months, well under the recommended timeline of 24 months.

Sparrows Group is an Aberdeen-based company specialising in delivering integrated engineering solutions to the global energy industry. Having senior figures in the business who started their careers out as apprentices has encouraged Sparrows to see the advantages of employing apprentices – and the company now has 15 people various Modern Apprenticeship frameworks and two Graduate Apprentices (GAs) at its headquarters in Murcar Industrial Estate, Bridge of Don.



Reah could not speak more highly of the MA experience. She said:

“An apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to use your work to your advantage in relation to gaining a qualification.  It also makes it easier, as you are earning whist learning, in that you are not having to take time out of work to study and possibly use student loans.  It also looks great on a CV as it shows you have commitment, successfully completing something to the best of your ability, as well as providing general experience which can apply if and when you may choose to study further.

“The MA involved dedicating my time within work to illustrate my knowledge and understanding of particular skills, for instance problem solving and data reporting. Initially I was guided on a regular basis by my assessor – but after 6 months, I was encouraged to think independently and I grew in confidence so that I could assess my day-to-day work situations. This allowed me to demonstrate skills within the apprenticeship, and to build a portfolio of evidence for the final assessment.

“The MA has allowed me to demonstrate my hardworking and ambitious attitude, which I believed help contribute to being successful in changing to a more rewarding and thriving role within the company.”

Reah now plans to continue with her studies working towards an Accountancy degree through the distance learning route available at Robert Gordon University. 



Becky joined Sparrows straight from Kincorth Academy after completing Year 4.  She started as an Administration Assistant at Sparrows and held several positions before deciding to move to a technical role in Inspection. She said:

“I selected modules within the MA programme to reflect my role and suit what I do - units such as spreadsheets, monthly reports, budgets and so on.  I have really enjoyed it and I am now hoping to gain promotion within Sparrows.

“I never thought that when I left school that I would return to education or be capable of going to University but this apprenticeship route really worked for me – giving me the time to grow in confidence and gain new skills. I have just begun the BA Hons Business Management Degree, through distance learning, where I will be attending University one day a month. Because of all my work experience to date I am exempt from Year 3 which is the placement year.”


Both Becky and Reah attended the Modern Apprenticeship presentation evening held by North East Scotland College this week to celebrate their achievements to date.