Two different career paths for the same job

Thousands of school pupils from across the south of Scotland have received their exam results today. Many of them will be the first to be awarded the new 'nationals' certificate, which replaces the old Standard Grades.

Some will have achieved the results they wanted, some will have failed to reach their targets and others will have surpassed their expectations. So where do they go from here? Well two young men from Dumfries are both hoping to become engineers. However, they are taking two different career paths in an attempt to achieve their goal.

Case study one: Crawford Walker, Engineering apprentice:

Crawford Walker began his apprenticeship at Cochran when he was 20 years old. Cochran are an industrial steel boiler company who export their machines to as far away places as Japan, South America and New Zealand. They're based near Annan and have been in business for more than 100 years. Crawford knew he wanted to be an engineer and wanted to work locally, so he applied for his apprenticeship with the firm. He felt it offered a better experience than going off to university:

Cochran employ around 160 people at their factory in Newbie. Many of the people in the managerial positions also began their working life in the company as an apprentice.

General Manager David Young believes that apprentices are good for business:

"We've got a long tradition of having apprentices here at Cochran. We generally have an intake of five or six every year.

General Manager David Young

Case study two- Chuck Okoroma, Undergraduate studying Engineering

Chuck Okoroma is currently studying for an engineering degree at the University of the West of Scotland.

As well as studying full time, he has gained employment over the summer break at a Dumfriesshire engineering firm. His course also allows him to carry out work placements during term-time.

Chuck believes that going to university can offer you a more rounded experience, where you can gain essential life skills:

Many people find it difficult to choose which university course offers them the most, and choosing a university to go to can be difficult.

Hundreds of students leave Dumfries every year to study in cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

However, Caroline Bell from the University of the West of Scotland says that school leavers should consider staying in Dumfries for their higher education:

"We have a fantastic range of courses here in Dumfries, with the University of the West of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College and the University of Glasgow all based at the Crichton.

Caroline Bell

Another option is of course to go straight into work after leaving school, which many will do.

Every option has it's pros and cons, and often picking the right career path can be a stressful time.

However, there are no shortage of opportunities in Dumfries and Galloway. If you are interested in local apprenticeships and university courses, click here for more information.