#ECPrizeGiving – Keris Simpkins

Nineteen-year-old Keris Simpkins is an Apprentice Plasterer with West Lothian Council and comes to Edinburgh College to complement her learning on-site training.

Keris has been named this year’s Construction Student of the Year. We caught up with her about her experience at College so far.

“It’s an amazing achievement to be awarded and it shows that my hard work has paid off. This award is definitely something I’m going to be proud of for a long time. It shows that I do have the will power, strength and ability to continue even if there have been tough days but I’m still here to tell the tale.

Before starting my Apprenticeship, I was at school. I found out about the Apprenticeship after doing a multi-trade course with the council once a week for eight weeks – this gave me hands-on experience of Plastering. I realised I had a keen eye for it so decided to apply for the Apprenticeship. I was successful and started when I left at the end of the school year.

The highlight of College so far is that, although I’m the only female on the current course, there’s still equality in the workplace which I’m grateful for because it shows that us females are just as capable of doing the jobs as males.

If I was to give advice to a new student, I would say: “It seems like a big bad world when you first start and you don’t know anyone however you quickly realise that everyone is the same as you and all are learning a new skill to have in life. You then become close friends to people and are always helping each other out if required. You realise you are all on the same level so there’s the equality side of it where someone isn’t better or worse it’s all a learning curve for everyone”.

Looking to the future, my aim is to learn advanced crafts in my third year of my Apprenticeship so that my knowledge level is higher. I will be hoping I get selected to stay on once I time out my Apprenticeship with the council and gain more knowledge before I aim to hopefully open my own company. I would describe my College experience as: Equal, Motivational, Enjoyable.”