• Plexus’ Fatima Asif wins Scottish Graduate Apprentice of the Year
  • Fatima praises benefits of work-based learning and industry experience
  • Winner announced at live ceremony on March 8

Plexus Corp. is excited to announce that Fatima Asif, a graduate trainee, won Graduate Apprentice of the Year category at the Scottish Apprenticeships Awards, which took place on Wednesday 8th March. Fatima Asif is a graduate apprentice on Plexus’ Engineering Design & Manufacture (Mechanical) programme, currently studying Engineering in Design and Manufacture (Mechanical) at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University.

The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards recognise exceptional organisations and individuals who support apprenticeships. This year’s awards will highlight the key role apprentices and employers play in delivering the skills Scotland needs now and in the future. The ‘Graduate Apprentice of the Year’ category celebrates the dedication and impact of graduate apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their organisation’s performance.

Fatima was one of three outstanding individuals nominated for the top prize.

Fatima applied to join Plexus in her final year of high school, while completing her additional Highers in Graphic Communication and Accounting, after being attracted to the format of the programme, which prioritises work-based learning (80%) over academic study (20%). Plexus’ programme places less emphasis on exams, which are pressurising and often stressful, instead locating real-term value in developing skills and knowledge through participation, application and the aggregation of responsibility. Moreover, Fatima was excited by the prospect of gaining meaningful industry experience whilst earning a full-time wage.

Fatima is mainly engaged in work and projects for the Continuous Improvement department and her role revolves around collaboration across different functions. She noted that one of her proudest achievements working for the company has been her involvement in developing and implementing improvements at the Shop Floor level, forging positive relationships with many of the operators and across the wider team in the process.

Balancing a full-time job with her undergraduate studies has not always been easy. But Fatima says that applying a sense of perspective has helped her rationalise the challenge; knowing that her future career prospects will be vastly enhanced by successfully completing the programme has given her a useful incentive.

Fatima is clear that, had she followed the traditional graduate route and missed out on the wealth of industry experience she has gained, she would be several years behind. Instead, she is well ahead of her peers. Fatima’s impact since joining Plexus has been significant as she was recently voted Plexus Apprentice of the Year.

Fatima’s extraordinary work has been recognised in other quarters, too. She was nominated for Young Person of the Year at the CEED Industry Awards. CEED is a national body that supports a range of industry sectors in Scotland united in their common goal to improve operational efficiency, effectiveness, and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.

Fatima praised the support she has received from Plexus throughout her Graduate Apprenticeship journey, saying:

“My work-based mentor and Plexus have offered me mentorship when it comes to my university work. Additionally, I have been through a lot personal and professional development due to the outstanding support I have received from the development team at Plexus and all the managers and peers who have welcomed me into the business and encouraged my ideas.”

“I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and truly believe that this apprenticeship programme has shaped my future in a way nothing else could have. This apprenticeship has provided me with all the skills and confidence to believe that I have what it takes to achieve all my goals.”

Plexus’ apprenticeship programme has been running for the past five years, in line with the company’s commitment to investing in young people’s futures at a local level. Two recent graduates to have completed the programme are Jack Beveridge and Darian Taylor, who graduated from Heriot Watt with First Class Honours and have already taken up permanent positions at Plexus. Gail Traynor, Learning and Development Manager at Plexus, said, “This programme offers Plexus the opportunity to develop young engineers in a way that matches our business needs. By the time they are qualified, we have a competent engineer that understands our culture and values as well as having the technical skills we require.”