A mechanic in the making

Hard work and enthusiasm has paid off for 17-yr-old Ryan Aird. His work experience in 2019 has developed into a full apprenticeship. Our Workshop Manager, Lani Togi, felt that Ryan would make an “…excellent addition to my team due to his keen interest and excitement to work with machinery. All my team enjoy teaching, coaching and working with Ryan for these reasons; for myself, it’s refreshing to have someone who is inspired to meet the challenges that arise within our profession”.

We spoke to Ryan about his journey at St Andrews Links so far:

(Ryan with Workshop Manager, Lani Togi)

1) How did you get started at St Andrews Links? 

I started at St Andrews Links undertaking work experience. I enjoyed it so much that after my fifth week I asked my Manager, Lani, if it would be possible to be kept on for a longer period. This led to me starting a seasonal position for five months and onto being offered an apprenticeship. It was great to have proved myself as being valuable to Lani’s team.

2) What type of mechanics is your apprenticeship in and what does it involve?

I will start a Land Based Engineering course at the Oatridge Campus of Scotland’s Rural College in 2020. This covers engineering principles / operations and maintenance on machinery such as diggers, telehandlers, tractors and trailers. Here at the Links, the variety of machinery I work on e.g. greenkeeping equipment, is a little different from what will be covered on my course but everything I will learn is relevant to what we do here in the workshop.

(Hard at work, Ryan sharpening an edging iron)

3) Why did you choose mechanics and what do you enjoy about it? 

I originally chose to be a mechanic because of my interest in cars, specifically fast ones! When I was younger, I would spend hours taking things like bikes apart and trying to put them back together again. This was something I enjoyed, though my mum and dad didn’t share the same enthusiasm. I think this is where my interest in mechanics initially started.

(Ryan in the workshop)

4) What type of machinery do you work on at the Links?

The machines we work with in the workshop can be as small as hand tools from chainsaws to strimmers or as big as a digger or dumper. All the tools and machines used by our greenkeepers are serviced and repaired by us, which gives me a chance to learn about many different types of equipment.

(Concentration and precision are always required)

5) What is the most important thing you’ve learned whilst working at the Links? 

The most important thing that I have learned so far and I still am is how to work best as a team. Everyone wants to get their job in and out the door as smoothly as possible and sometimes that means asking for a hand. Personally, I need extra time to be taught and learn new skills which my colleagues are very good at helping me with.

6) What is the favourite part of your job? 

My favourite part of my job would definitely be learning new skills and all about various types of machines. I’ve been very lucky to have the chance to work somewhere that I’ll never stop learning, especially when technology is always improving. There is never a point where you know everything because something new is always around the corner.

(Ryan works on machinery of all different types. Here he is working on a Toro Workman.)

7) Any thoughts on where you see yourself in the future?  

I can definitely see myself staying at St Andrews Links. I am taking everyday as it comes but I’d love to work my way up. Maybe one day I will be the Workshop Manager! Who knows?

Ryan has made a fantastic impression here at the Links and is now a vital part of our workshop team. His future is bright; we look forward to seeing what lies ahead in Ryan’s career!

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