Kirsty Buchan

A North East Logistics Coordinator is finding herself back in education for the first time since secondary school, after starting a Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) with Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Kirsty Buchan has been working at Sparrows Group for four years, after taking part in their own modern apprenticeship scheme. She is now in the first year of a Business Management GA, which will see her complete an honours degree within the workplace, with the support of Sparrows mentors and staff at RGU.

She said: “I have been working for quite a few years before starting this course – having worked at Petrofac and BP previously, before joining Sparrows. On completion of my apprenticeship here, I was asked if I’d be interested in having a degree and I jumped at the chance.”

Kirsty’s work at Sparrows is people-focused and involves mobilising offshore personnel to different projects, however the GA is enhancing her experience of other business areas she’d yet to be involved with, such as HR and legal.

The GA also marks a significant shift for Kirsty, as she returns to education for the first time in many years.

“I left school after my Highers in fifth year, going straight into work, and this is the first time I’ve done any form of writing or academic work since then. It has been a challenge at times, trying to remind myself of things that I did back in formal education.

“But it has been great. I feel like I’m actually reading a lot more and writing a lot more than I was before – and I’m also able to put everything I’m learning into practice immediately as part of my day job.”

While she is still in the early stages of her GA, Kirsty has enjoyed her interactions with the university and is looking forward to reaping the success of her efforts – an experience she is recommending to fellow professionals.

“RGU has been great and really supportive, and any time I’ve needed help I’ve been able to email or speak to someone. It really has been great.

“I would definitely recommend the GA scheme to others, especially those who left school and don’t have a formal degree. It’s a chance to give back into it and work and learn at the same time.”