Meet the Apprentice: Diageo Apprentice Chelsea Riddoch

I’m currently in my third year as a mechanical engineer with Diageo, where I am learning the tricks of the trade at the Glendullan Engineering Centre at Dufftown. The centre supports the production of Diageo’s Scotch Whisky and the nature of the product and the industry makes for an exciting work environment.

Chelsea Riddoch - Glendullan Diageo (002)

Diageo is very committed to developing people’s careers within the business, investing a lot in our training and skills programmes. The apprenticeship scheme plays a big part of this.

A typical day will see me trying my hand at a whole host of activities to help me get to grips and master vital engineering skills. This can range from maintenance to fabrication, so there is never a dull moment to be had.

One day a week is also dedicated to college, funded by Diageo. Being able to attend always provides a great opportunity to engage with other apprentices and consolidate the skills I’ve acquired while on the job.

At Glendullan Engineering Centre there is never a dull moment

The placement has provided me with a highly supportive learning environment, and gives me the chance to work alongside experienced industry veterans as well as three fellow apprentices. My personal experience of the scheme has also led me to speak at school career fairs as I think it’s important to encourage young people to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. This is a far cry from my initial desire to become a geography teacher.

The opportunities available to young people in the whisky industry, across Scotland are plentiful and my experience is testament to this.

A typical day will see me trying my hand at a whole host of activities to help me get to grips and master vital engineering skills

What do you love about your apprenticeship?

At Glendullan Engineering Centre there is never a dull moment. I grew up wanting to be a geography teacher, but in secondary school I became fascinated with engineering. It has lived up to my expectations and more.

What advice would you give to school leavers?

Given my positive experience, I would strongly encourage those my age and younger to consider a career in a sector which continues to have such a presence around the globe. Working for one of the world’s leading drinks businesses presents a whole range of opportunities for young people to explore.

 Any moments or highlights from your apprenticeship to remember?

One highlight that I will take away from my experience is working alongside industry veterans and fellow apprentices who started their careers at Glendullan sometime before me. Being immersed in such a supportive learning environment means that I’ve been able to grasp the skills needed both quickly and easily.

 What’s the best thing about an apprenticeship at Diageo?

It is amazing how quickly you adapt to carrying out a whole range of tasks. We are given a taste of everything, from maintenance to fabrication. Attending college one day a week is also a great way to consolidate what you’ve learnt and to meet others in your field.

 What more could businesses do to support young people into the world of work?

There is still a need to invest heavily in the development of the younger generation’s skills set. Businesses should take the lead in mentoring and promoting talented individuals. This can be done easily through providing of a strong support network and clear career guidance.

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