Becoming a Mechanical Engineer at BSW Timber: Ryan Boyle’s Story

BSW Timber is a large scale company that has seven sawmills based in the UK and one in Latvia. Throughout the company are a variety of available jobs and apprenticeships in engineering and saw doctoring. Based at the Fort William sawmill, is 1st year Mechanical Engineering apprentice, Ryan Boyle who shares his story about his apprenticeship experience so far.

What inspired you to enrol on your apprenticeship programme with this particular company?

‘I had worked with the company for one year prior to starting my apprenticeship. During this year I was able to see first hand what the engineers did within the company. Seeing the variety of different tasks they would carry out and the challenge of keeping the mill running inspired me to apply for this role.’

What qualifications did you require to enrol on your apprenticeship programme?

‘They looked for a minimum of Nat 4 in Maths, Physics and English. They also looked for someone with experience in hands on work, and good team working and communication skills.’

What are the benefits of being an apprentice at your company?

‘One of the benefits of being an apprentice with BSW Timber is working alongside quality tradesmen that are willing to take the time to teach you everything required to be a fitter. A perk of the job is being able to earn whilst you learn.’

Describe a daily day as an apprentice at your company

‘Everyday of my apprenticeship is completely different. You really don’t know what you are walking into. Whether it’s practising welding in the workshop or going to assist with a breakdown on the state of the art sawline, you are picking up new skills every day.’

What advice would you give to other young people wanting to enrol on an apprenticeship programme?

‘If you enjoy a challenge and are willing to work, then this is the perfect opportunity to gain a well-recognised qualification in a great trade. I have learned over the past months is that you get what you put into the job. If you really apply yourself every day, tradesmen will give you the same back.’

BSW Engineering Manager, Ewen Smith is based at the Fort William sawmill and has seen numerous apprentices come and work for the company over the years. He commented:

‘The apprenticeship programme at BSW Timber is producing many highly skilled and motivated tradespeople. These engineers play a crucial role in making our mill the success that it is.’

‘The training and experience we provide enables the apprentices to develop into very experienced tradespeople, but sustained effort and motivation by the apprentices is by far the biggest success factor.’

Watch our video below which explains further about the variety of apprenticeship at the BSW Timber!


Thanks to Ryan for sharing his apprenticeship career journey, and to Ewen for giving an employers’ perspective on taking on apprentices! If you would like to find out about apprenticeship opportunities: FoundationModern or Graduate, or are a business thinking of taking on an apprentice a FoundationModern or Graduate, please get in touch with your local DYW West Highland team on: / 01397 705 765 / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn