Sean MacDonald pursued a graduate apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering at Robert Gordon University while gaining practical experience at RSE. He initially joined RSE as a Project Administrator for the E&M department in  September 2019. His interest in Graduate Apprenticeships led him to apply to Robert Gordon University, where he was admitted to the programme’s second year due to his prior HNC in mechanical engineering and university experience.

After starting his course, Sean requested to transition from the E&M department to the Water Technologies Mechanical Design team, as a way of aligning his work with his studies more effectively. RSE supported this departmental change, enhancing Sean’s industry understanding.

During his apprenticeship, Sean completed Work Based Learning Outcomes, shadowing various engineering practices and processes at RSE. He received substantial support from different departments and benefited from the guidance of his Workplace Mentor, Keith MacRae.

Three years later, Sean successfully completed his course with an exceptional First Class Honours degree, officially earning the title of Mechanical Engineer at RSE. Sean’s Workplace Mentor, Keith MacRae, commended his dedication and the collaborative support from colleagues throughout his journey, stating,


“Congratulations and well deserved, it was good to see how you applied yourself to each element with the support from the various areas and personnel within the business.”

Sean MacDonald
Sean Macdonald

Sean Macdonald

RSE have provided me with multiple opportunities to progress my career within the company by taking on new responsibilities during my Graduate Apprenticeship. During my final year honours project, I was able to work closely with the Innovations Team, aiding in the development of the C37 Filter Module Standard Product. This provided me the chance to apply what I had learned over the years in a real world engineering project.

There was great support from the Mechanical Design Team and other departments within RSE, especially with my Work Based Learning Outcomes. These allowed me to see areas of the business and undertake training that I may not have been exposed to had I gone down the traditional further education route. I’m looking forward to furthering my development, facing new challenges and offering my support to those who decide to go down a similar path.

RSE Apprenticeships

The recognition of young talent within our apprenticeship programmes has allowed us to undertake further development of young people across a range of backgrounds and experience into senior roles. The diversity of our business allows career development to be structured throughout the company, ensuring that our apprentices gain appropriate skills and experience in the relevant areas.

At RSE, we are seeking motivated and ambitious individuals who excel in a team environment with a hands-on approach to learning, and work under their own initiative. To be successful within the role, apprentices must be excellent communicators and natural problem solvers, with the ability to work well under pressure.

Sean’s career pathway perfectly demonstrates the capabilities and flexibility that we can offer here at RSE. You are given the opportunity to choose your own career pathway and will receive support from mentors and line managers to find the role that suits you best. Furthermore, if you are looking to further develop your skills through additional certifications or qualifications whilst gaining work place experience, RSE are more than happy to accommodate this for you.

Types of Apprenticeships we offer

Foundation Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships are aimed at secondary school pupils in either S5 or S6. Lasting one or two years, pupils spend time out of school with a company (such as RSE) and complete the Foundation Apprenticeship alongside their other subjects like National 5s and Highers.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships are aimed at people aged 16 and over and are a viable alternative to university, providing the option for candidates to gain hands-on experience while earning a wage and studying towards an industry-relevant qualification.

Graduate Apprenticeships

Graduate Apprenticeships are the most advanced branch of Scottish apprenticeships, offering work-based learning and study offering up to master’s degree level. Graduate Apprenticeships are ideal for people looking to gain degree level qualifications and kick-start their career by gaining full-time industry experience at the same time as working towards their degree.

Interested in a career with RSE? Take a look at our Career Portal.
With 18 RSE sites spread across the UK, we may just have the perfect role for you!

Olivia Kerr - Marketing Co-ordinator

Olivia Kerr

Marketing Co-ordinator

First Published

1st September 2023

Estimated Reading Time

4 minutes

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