Saskia Blacklock, 25, is a tool hire assistant at Jewson, the national builders merchant. Saskia joined the business as an apprentice on the Kickstart scheme two years ago, and today her role involves diagnosing and repairing faulty tools, as well as supporting Jewson colleagues and suppliers. She is from Ayrshire and is based in the Glasgow branch, where her team covers tool hire across Scotland.
Speaking of her position as an apprentice with Jewson, she said: “When I left school I initially wanted to be a mechanic but I was finding it really hard to get work. I’d also previously worked in a slaughterhouse, so my background is quite varied.
Unfortunately, most of the places I was interested in working at didn’t cater for women, but then I saw an apprenticeship advertised within Jewson’s Tool Hire team. I initially thought it was more of a phone-based role, but then I learned that it would involve mechanics and repairing tools, which was just what I was looking for.
“When I started here my manager couldn’t wait to help me. He went out of his way to make me feel comfortable and confident in the job and to this day is constantly looking for ways to help me to progress. Since I joined Jewson I’ve come a long way, and I’ve recently been put forward for a master tech qualification with Stihl – one of Jewson’s suppliers.
“One of the highlights of the past two years was being nominated for – and winning – Apprentice of the Year at the BMJ Industry Awards in 2023. National Apprenticeship Week is a great way to showcase the variety of routes into work and I would encourage anyone considering an apprenticeship to just go for it.
You might find a whole new career that you never knew existed. In the future I’d love to go into management myself and help to pay forward some of the incredible support I’ve had from my own manager.”