A student from Heriot-Watt University's Graduate Apprenticeship programme is at the forefront of efforts to fight the spread of Covid-19 by using his studies to ensure hospitals and other frontline businesses around the UK have access to clean water.
Lukasz Wojcik works as a Field-Service Technician for water purification specialists, Scotmas, and is based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders.
Since the lockdown came into force in March, Lukasz and his colleagues have been working hard on maintaining water distribution systems at health facilities around the country, including Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
The 36 year old, credits his Graduate Apprenticeship in developing the skillset to meet the ongoing needs of Scotmas’ customers, and also be involved in the rapid design and installation of temporary water treatment for several NHS Nightingale hospitals.
We take great pride in how graduate apprentices like Lukasz have been able to apply their learning in the fight against COVID-19.
Lukasz, who is due to graduate from his course later this year, said: “Graduate Apprenticeships have been a fantastic way for me to develop and learn new skills whilst remaining in paid employment.
“This has allowed me to be part of the team that has been maintaining water disinfection systems at hospitals around the UK, ensuring they are safe from dangerous bacteria that could cause further illness in vulnerable patients, including those with Covid-19.
“It’s been a hugely rewarding experience professionally and an opportunity for me to help NHS staff and patients.”
For the last four years, Lukasz has been combining his full-time job with a Mechanical Engineering course at Heriot-Watt through the ground-breaking Graduate Apprenticeships scheme. The degree-level programmes are for anyone aged over 16, who live and work in Scotland, with no course fees to pay for apprentices or employers.
Those on the courses spend approximately 80% of their time in work and 20% in university, and can qualify for entry based on both academic and relevant work experience. This enables employers to upskill their workforce in order to meet the growing demands of modern business environment, while employees remain in paid employment as they earn new qualifications.
Businesses who have signed-up to the Graduate Apprenticeship programme are already witnessing the benefits in their workplace, with closer partnership working between employers, employees and Heriot-Watt University across a range of key areas.
Alistair Cameron, Managing Director at Scotmas said: “As a business, we have always been committed to long term training and staff development.
“The Graduate Apprenticeship programme that Lukasz is now completing has proven to be a hugely worthwhile addition to our training portfolio, providing focused learning which can be applied almost immediately in the workplace.
“Many congratulations to Lukasz for the successful completion of his course and we look forward to his continuing input.”
Whilst all Graduate Apprenticeships stay in paid employment whilst completing their degree, it also means there is no student loan to repay with a wide range of courses available.
Sandy Murray, Director of Graduate Apprenticeship at Heriot-Watt University, said: “We take great pride in how graduate apprentices like Lukasz have been able to apply their learning in the fight against COVID-19. It’s a great demonstration of one of the main benefits of the graduate apprenticeships programme – studying for a degree and being able to apply that knowledge and make a difference in the workplace. We’d like to congratulate Lukasz on the successful on-going contribution he’s making to Scotmas.”
Employers keen to find out more about Graduate Apprenticeships and what it can offer them can do so by emailing the team.