A SELF-CONFESSED “girly girl” who used to think working in a shipyard was for “workies” now insists an apprenticeship there has “changed her life".

Clydebank teen Eve Valentine explained her time so far at Scotstoun’s BAE Systems yard as a Project Management (PM) Apprentice has been “empowering” and she has even been trying to convince her friends to join her since she signed up in August last year.

The 19-year-old left school for university in the summer of 2022 but after a year studying social sciences, she decided that type of further education just wasn’t for her.

And now, after a family friend suggested having a look at the BAE Systems early career programme, Eve admits she has never been happier - both professionally and personally.

Speaking exclusively to The Clydebank Post, she said: “Being able to go into my apprenticeship has completely changed me as a person.

“I’ve felt myself becoming a lot more confident, a lot more comfortable, I was never shy and reserved, but I wouldn’t put myself out there purely for fear of rejection.

“When I left school, I didn’t think about looking at apprenticeships, because I thought they were just for workies, I had filtered apprenticeships - and so had my school – that it was only for people who wanted to go into trade work.

“Being able to do the PM apprenticeship and learning from it has been really good for me.”

The former St Peter the Apostle pupil revealed if you had told her when she left school in 2022 that less than two years later, she would be working at BAE, she wouldn’t have believed you.

“It was always advertised as like a workies thing to do apprenticeships and go off and work in a shipyard and do welding and joining,” Eve continued.

“It was something that never personally appealed to me. I am just not like that at all.

“I was quite academic in school so university was the path my teachers and my guidance counsellors recommended, everyone had always said university would be the place where I would thrive and a place where I could find what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

“Fortunately, towards the end of my first year, I realised the whole university concept just wasn’t something that was going to settle with me.

“I didn’t feel like my learning was reaching its peak. University just wasn’t for me. It works for some people, and it doesn’t for others.

“I was quite lucky to figure that out in my first year.

“But to be honest with you, my first reaction was – ‘I don’t want to work in a shipyard.’

“I am a very girly teenage girl. So, the idea of working in a shipyard with steel-toe boots and overalls just didn’t appeal to me at all.”

Eve previously worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor at Clydebank Leisure Centre and she hopes to bring the preparation and teamwork skills learned there to her new life as a BAE apprentice.

Her story is just one of many after BAE more than doubled the number of apprenticeships they offered in the last five years with the defence contractor set to welcome around 2700 trainees to apprentice and graduate programmes in 2024 – its largest ever intake.

The past week has seen National Apprenticeship Week be celebrated and Paul Feely, academy & engineering director at BAE noted people like Eve are exactly why they run the initiative.

Paul said: “The early career programmes are fundamental to the success of BAE and getting the skills that we need to be able to deliver.

“We have a substantial intake requirement at the moment. We are aiming to start another 200 apprentices here on the Clyde and that is to help us support the programmes we have with the Royal Navy and the international programmes in Canada and Australia.”

Glasgow Times: Paul Feely, believes youngsters like Eve are why they run the early years programmePaul Feely, believes youngsters like Eve are why they run the early years programme (Image: Supplied)

Eve believes she is proud to be smashing stereotypes by stepping into a traditionally male-dominated world and hopes more youngsters will choose a similar path.

She finished: “I’m in an all-female household, I am one of three girls.

“All three of my sisters are incredibly girly, we used to look at things and worry about getting our nails chipped or our hair dirty.

“I reached out to the female planners and female project managers, just to get a vibe of what their day-to-day was like. 

“It was something that really appealed to me to be able to go in and say, ‘I am a woman working in STEM.’

“I found a confidence within when saying it. Working with some of the other female apprentices, it is a great feeling to be that empowered.”