SEEING off HMS Spey was a proud moment for project management apprentice Ellis Folan, one of the next generation of Clyde shipbuilders, after helping steer it to completion.

Ms Folan, 19, worked on the Offshore Patrol Vessel through its final phase and while under the shadow of coronavirus and was among those taking on even more tasks and, in the words of the programme leader, who “really stepped up”.

The BAE Systems teams across Scotstoun and Govan launched HMS Spey, the last of a series of five ships in six years for the Royal Navy, for delivery yesterday.

READ MORE: Glasgow BAE Systems delivers HMS Spey and £635m contract despite coronavirus

Ms Folan is in her second year after opting for the apprenticeship while at school at St Columba’s High School in Gourock.

“I’ve learnt a lot not just about where my placement was focused but about shipbuilding in general,” she said. “On the OPV programme I was working in the project control scheme which was quite different to previous placements because as it was coming to the end of its life cycle a lot of the teams were a lot smaller, and it was a really good experience as an apprentice to have a lot of responsibility.

HeraldScotland: Ellis Folan on HMS Spey.Ellis Folan on HMS Spey.

“From working with this team it has given me a much better idea of where I want to take my career after my apprenticeship’s finished, so it was a really beneficial experience working on OPV.

“I see myself going into delivery work. I liked how when I was working with the project manager, every day was really different, engaging with a lot of different stakeholders across the programme, instead of one team which will maybe stay focused on their own practice.”

She said: “Working with the project manager I was talking to project management, engineering, supply chain, operations, it was really good for overall experience of the whole programme.

“It’s something I’m quite proud of, being able to see the ship leave for sea trials and now it’s going down to Portsmouth, that’s a rewarding feeling knowing that you have contributed to that.”

She is the first in her family to enter shipbuilding. “My school were really big advocates for promoting apprenticeships, so they would always hold apprenticeship days and that was where I was able to find BAE and project management was something I wanted to do so if it wasn’t an apprenticeship it would probably be university. To learn as well as get a qualification is a win win for me.” Despite Covid, BAE pressed ahead with the recruitment of a record number of apprentices this year including a Glasgow intake of over 60.