Emma O’Halloran
Emma O’Halloran

Emma O’Halloran

Apprentice Chemical Analyst

23 years old

“The Glasgow Guarantee has been instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today and being the catalyst for my Scottish Apprenticeship Awards nomination.”

my story

I first heard about the Glasgow Guarantee and modern apprenticeships whilst attending a jobs fair with school. At the time I knew I just didn’t feel ready to go straight onto university and the concept of being able to work and continue my studies at the same time really appealed to me. When I saw that I could do an apprenticeship in science, a subject I really enjoyed – I just knew this was the right pathway to my future career. 


The online portal, to sign up and view the range of modern apprenticeships on offer, was really easy to use and navigate. I was so excited to apply for roles and researched common interview questions online in preparation. A top tip was to take a note of key things with me on the day, such as my achievements - so that I didn’t forget to chat about them due to my combined excitement and nerves!   However, from the moment I arrived at the laboratory for my interview they put me at ease with a tour beforehand. I was so ecstatic to secure a modern apprenticeship place with Glasgow Scientific Services as I knew the college course, I had started in the interim, was just not for me.


Now having made it to the final in a national competition which recognises the success of apprenticeships across Scotland – I know I chose the right path. 

making a difference

As an apprentice Chemical Analyst, the team at Scientific Services made me feel so welcome from my very first day in the post. 


At the beginning I was involved in carrying out chemical analysis on water samples to make sure that they met the correct safety and quality regulations for the public. 

I then progressed across to testing food which can involve testing local food bought in Glasgow to check it is safe for consumption and is safe, in regards to allergens and preservatives, or checking the quality and nutritional values to make sure the label on the product matches what is actually inside the product.

I gained valuable on the job experience and each day I felt like I was playing a valuable role to help keep our citizens safe – making a real difference. Every task brought new and exciting challenges and along the way I learnt a lot of new scientific techniques. My colleagues were quick to support my areas of interests and help me to develop. 


Through my apprenticeship I also undertook additional training and development to become a mentor for Career Ready. This is where I help secondary school pupils gain experience and skills to prepare them for work. I still regularly meet with my mentees, keep up-to-date with how they are doing in school and help prepare work experience for them within the laboratory. This role was an added bonus to my apprenticeship and really helped my personal self-development. 

be part of it

I thoroughly enjoyed my modern apprenticeship – my colleagues were instrumental in helping my confidence to grow and inspired me to want to learn and develop further. I felt a valued member of a team and was motivated to pursue further qualifications and a career in the industry. I didn’t know that learning on the job could be so much fun!


I feel that the Glasgow Guarantee has shaped me into the person I am today – it became an instrumental stepping stone in my career journey and I feel it gave me more hands on experience than a university course alone would have done at the start.  After finishing my apprenticeship, I am delighted to say that I secured a full time job with Glasgow Scientific Services and am now a qualified analyst studying the final year of an Applied Bioscience honours degree. 


I would encourage everyone leaving school to join the Glasgow Guarantee. For myself it was an excellent programme to be part of – I felt fully supported and encouraged to learn, work and grow. I really would not be where I am today without having signed up – doing a job I absolutely love and learning new scientific practices along the way.



  • During her apprenticeship Emma was named the council’s Modern Apprentice of the Year in 2016 and in 2019 she received the Trades House Glasgow highly coveted Modern Apprentice of the Year award (and used her winnings to study a Mental Health Awareness course).
  • Nominated for a Skills Development Scotland Apprenticeship Ambassador award in 2020 – for title of Apprentice Ambassador of the Year.