Interview with Matthew Stanners from Border Safeguard
Could you please give us a quick introduction as to who you are, where you're from and what your occupation is currently whether that's further education or employment.
Hi, my name is Matthew Stanners, and I currently work as an electrical engineer for Border Safeguard in Selkirk. I started at Border Safeguard six years ago at the end of 5th year aged 16 and started working towards an SVQ Level 6 Fire and Security apprenticeship. I completed my apprenticeship 3 years ago.
Take us through your journey from leaving school to where you are now.
When I did work experience in 3rd year I came and did it for a week at Border Safeguard. I spoke to the company then and they said that if I was looking for an apprenticeship further on down the line then they would consider offering me one. A few years later, after sitting my National 5 and Higher exams, I got back in touch with Border Safeguard who were happy to take me on as an apprentice.
What qualifications have you achieved during that time and What are you working towards right now (qualifications etc)?
No, I'm not currently working towards any qualifications. We get a lot of training on different products but the SVQ Level 6 Fire and Security qualification is the biggest qualification I have at the moment.
Take us through a typical day in your role/course.
So right now I'm an electrical engineer and actually I have an apprentice working with me now. We start work at 08:00 and either go down to the office to see where we are going that day or go straight to the first job. Border Safeguard covers the whole of the Scottish Borders and further afield. We can be right up to Perth and Edinburgh or down to Berwick and Carlisle fitting security alarms, cameras and fire alarms. So everyday is pretty varied. We get home at 17:00 and then go again at 08:00 the next day!
What advice would you give to people who are getting ready to leave school and aren't planning on going to university?
Well I think nowadays you can get an apprenticeship in pretty much anything. Whether it's working in an office doing the admin side of things or a more physical role like what I did. There's definitely a lot more variety than there used to be when apprenticeships were just things like joinery and electrical. I even know people who have apprenticeships in accountancy. I think this shows that even if you don't have amazing grades then you can still have a career in your dream role if you work hard. For me, Skills Development Scotland and the Careers Advisors at school were a huge help.
When you were getting ready to leave school what were your plans, was security and electrical work what you wanted to do?
No, it wasn't something I had really looked into or thought about but then I really enjoyed the work experience and found it interesting going different places. This gave me an insight into what the world was really going to be about after I left school. I suppose the week of work experience was huge in getting me to where I am now, and I still love the variety!
Do you have any regrets about your journey so far, what would you change?
No, none that I can think of. I sort of always knew I was never going to go to university when I left school. I loved the social side of school but school just wasn't for me and I was always going to focus on finding work. I'd like to think I have not let my relationship with school stop me from being successful.
What are your career goals for the future?
I think I would like to maybe continue on the installing side of the job for another few years and then work into more of the surveying side. This would allow me to meet more customers and show them products, which would be good as I like speaking to customers. So I'd probably like to have a go at the sales and and planning side of the company.
By Euan Welsh, DYW Young Board Member