Young Greenock engineer Harley recognised at Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

A young engineer from Greenock hailed as the ‘gold standard’ for the next generation of learners is a finalist at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Harley Higgins, 18, is up against two other contenders in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category, with the winner to be revealed at the awards on Wednesday, March 8.

Harley chose a Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering when he was at Clydeview Academy in Gourock, as he wanted to work in engineering and realised that getting on-the-job experience would help him decide which sector he wanted to go into. 

After completion he secured a Modern Apprenticeship job in Multi-skilled Engineering at power supply specialist Aggreko – ahead of 300 other candidates. 

Harley studied for three days a week at West College Scotland in Paisley during his Foundation Apprenticeship, completing practical work and giving detailed explanations of processes and systems in his portfolio. 

Harley Higgins Greenock apprentice
Greenock apprentice Harley Higgins is a finalist at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2023.

On his work placement at Aggreko’s Dumbarton base he spent time in different sections of the workshop. His success means he is now held up by the college as an exemplar for new Foundation Apprentices.   

Harley said: “A Foundation Apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to experience the workplace and get involved in it, which was invaluable.  

“Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship opened my eyes to the opportunities that are available and helped me develop relevant skills and knowledge.   

“Being able to talk about my work placement through my Foundation Apprenticeship gave me the edge when I applied for my Modern Apprenticeship. 

“A Foundation Apprenticeships was the best subject choice I made.” 

Harley says the experience has boosted his time management, teamwork and communication skills. He gave an online presentation about Foundation Apprenticeships at a recruitment evening and took questions from viewers. 

Aggreko Manufacturing Trainer Paul McGarry said: “Apprentices bring massive value to the business - they bring fresh ideas and we mould them into the perfect engineers for Aggreko.  

Harley Higgins Greenock apprentice
Greenock apprentice Harley Higgins is a finalist at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

“Harley has a real passion for engineering and clearly has a bright future ahead of him.” 

West College Scotland Senior Administrator for Foundation Apprenticeships Ashleigh Bonnar said: “Harley’s confidence has really grown as a result of doing the Foundation Apprenticeship and he learned valuable life and work skills.” 

Foundation Apprenticeships provide school pupils with the skills employers need, offering industry insight to gain a work-based learning qualification at the same level as a Higher. There are 12 Foundation Apprenticeship subjects at SCQF level 6 and a pilot programme of Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 are for S3-S6 pupils.  

Harley’s achievements have led to him being a finalist in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards. Winners will be revealed at the awards, organised by SDS and set to take place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week from 6-10 March. Find out more about the award finalists and the event by visiting: