LAURA Black always dreamed of following in her father and grandfather's footsteps.

So the 21-year-old set her signs on a shipbuilding career on the Clyde - mastering the generations-old craft of installing complex pipework systems on board ships.

Now the young worker - who has been described as a "high potential" by her bosses at BAE Systems Naval Ships - is being celebrated at Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship awards.

Laura, who left her home in Campbeltown for Clydebank to pursue her goals, is a finalist in the Level 3 Apprentice of the Year category.

She completed her three-year apprenticeship in August - ahead of time because of her determination get the job done.

During this time, she has learned to fabricate, assemble and weld pipework to an "exceptional standard", say her bosses.

And, while working towards her apprenticeship goals, Laura completed a HNC in her own time.

She said: “Both my father and grandfather worked in shipbuilding and it is something I have always wanted to do.

"I have always liked the technical side of things and I really enjoy seeing things coming together.”

The young star - who has spoken about Modern Apprenticeships at careers fayres and presentations - is one of ten local finalists in the running for an accolade at the annual ceremony next week.

The awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), are held every year recognise the commitment to training shown by employers and employees across the country.

Laura's employer BAE Systems Naval Ships, is also in the running for a prize in the Large Employer category.

Nearly 100 new employees have joined 216 others on the company’s apprenticeship programme, which includes craft, IT and management apprenticeships.

BAE Systems HR Services Apprentice and Skills Training Manager, Charlie Murphy, said: "Laura has grown from a quiet person to a confident and ambitious individual who is technically very capable.

"The transformation is a direct result of the opportunities afforded to Laura over the course of her programme."

Charlie added: "Laura is now able to read and understand complex drawing and is a multi-skilled employee who, because of her drive, commitment and performance, has been identified as high potential by the company.

"She has also made a lasting impact on those with whom she has worked.

"Laura’s attitude and outlook has served to improve morale in certain areas and her innovative thinking and thirst for knowledge has challenged colleagues to change and improve conventional ways of doing things.

"Laura is a great role model and a valuable asset to the company."

Another young trainee who is being celebrated by his employers is 18-year-old Jonny Campbell from Inchinnan.

Jonny - a finalist in the Apprentice Ambassador category - was the first apprentice recruited by Hillington-based NS Design.

Since taking up the post he has campaigned to raise awareness of the Modern Apprenticeship programme at events, on radio and television and via social media.

Founder and Managing Director Gary Ennis said Jonny brought "energy and enthusiasm" to the business.

NS Design is also a finalist in the Micro Employer category for businesses with less than ten employees.

Glasgow-based systems developer Daniel Morrison, 21, is also a finalist in the Apprentice Ambassador category.

Daniel, 21, works for Lockheed Martin and has become one of their strongest developers - designing and creating solutions for customers.

And another finalist is this category is 21-year-old secretary Katherine Duffy.

She works for the Department of Accounting and Finance at the University of Strathclyde.

Katherine, who lives in Clydebank, believes the apprenticeship suited her perfectly, which is why she is keen to share her experience with other young people

Glasgow City Council's arms-length property organisation City Building has been praised for it's commitment to apprenticeships.

Since established in 2008 it has delivered almost 1,000 and currently has 350 apprentices, from first to fourth year.

City Building is a finalist in the Large Employer category for businesses with less than 5,000 workers.

Two Glasgow-based organisations are hoping for a win in the Public Sector Employer category.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde began recruiting apprentices in 2009 and since those early days, the board has taken on 100 apprentices across 13 different departments, covering clinical and non-clinical roles.

Also hoping for success is Scottish Canals which has recruited and helped train apprenticeships for 13 years.

Awards organisers, Skills Development Scotland, have praised a "strong culture of mentoring" in the organisation’s mechanical and electrical engineering department.

They say existing employees are "happy to share their decades of knowledge, skills and expertise" with those just starting out.

SDS’s Chief Executive Damien Yeates said: “Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards recognise the commitment to training show by employers and employees across the country.

"It’s this continued commitment that will see the number of Modern Apprenticeship places increase each year from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020.”

He added: “The apprenticeship and employers here are great examples of the benefits Modern Apprenticeships bring to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

"All the finalists are to be congratulated for their achievements so far.

"The judges are certainly going to have a difficult task picking the winners.”

November will also see Modern Apprentices visit secondary schools across the country as part of SDS’s drive to encourage more young people to consider apprenticeships as a career path.

Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship Awards take place on Wednesday November 18, in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms have been partnered by CGI, CITB, SQA, the City of Edinburgh Council, Diageo, Eastern Exhibition and Display and GTG Training.

Find out more about Modern Apprenticeships and search for job vacancies at

Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards 2015 – finalists

Level 2 Apprentice of the Year

• Alice Pezzani - Falkirk

• Auryn Chorley – Scottish Borders

• Zbigniew Gierszewski – West Lothian

Level 3 Apprentice of the Year

• Laura Black – Glasgow

• Raymond McAlonan – North Lanarkshire

• Steen Durno – Moray

Higher Level Apprentice of the Year

• Laura Burdin – Angus

• Michael Leftwich – Shetland Islands

• Ross Herbert - Edinburgh

Apprentice Ambassador

• Daniel Morrison - Glasgow

• Katherine Duffy – Glasgow

• Kenny McAllister – South Lanarkshire

• Jonathan Campbell - Renfrewshire

Micro Employer – 10 employees or fewer

• Fochabers Fish Bar - Moray

• NS Design - Renfrewshire

• The Wee Pie Company – Perth and Kinross

SME Employer – Between 11 and 249 employees

• CMS Window Systems – North Lanarkshire

• Waverley Housing – Scottish Borders

• Young Scot - Edinburgh

Large Employer – Between 250 and 4,999 employees

• BAE Systems Naval Ships - Glasgow

• City Building - Glasgow

• Finmeccanica-Selex ES – Edinburgh

Macro Employer – Over 5,000 employees

• BT – Glasgow

• Capgemini - Highland

• Standard Life – Edinburgh

Public Sector Employer

• NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – Glasgow

• Scottish Canals

• University of St Andrews