Cadet Work Experience with Brodie Engineering


In May 2021 a spritely Army Cadet, named Fraser Jørgensen, addressed our Association members on zoom at our Annual Association meeting. The Chairman (not to mention the other guests) was so impressed by the presentation, Jørgensen promptly received an invitation to the Chairman’s Reception, which took place in April 2022. Jørgensen, accompanied by his mother Dr Heather Jørgensen, joined guests at the Signet Library for an evening of networking and presentations.

As a result of Jørgensen attending the event, the Cadet secured himself summer work experience with Brodie Engineering, 2022 Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award winners. We are very pleased to share this guest article, written by Jørgensen and his mother, which documents his experience and demonstrates how valuable the Cadet experience has been.

Reflections on Work Experience at Brodie Engineering, Summer 2022

Cadet Fraser Jørgensen (5 Platoon Scots Guards – Glasgow & Lanark Battalion) & Dr Heather Jørgensen (Cadet’s mum & driver) 

Cadet Jorgensen with camo in the field

Summer 2022 was the most eagerly awaited school break with training at residential Army Cadet Force Annual Camp and work experience opportunities lined up for Cadet Fraser Jørgensen, 5 platoon Scots Guards ACF, Lanark – both firsts!

After presenting at Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association Annual Meeting by zoom back in May 2021, Fraser was invited to attend the Lowland RFCA Chairman’s Reception in the Signet Library in Edinburgh in April 2022.   

On the night, Cadet Jørgensen was invited (truthfully, more correctly ‘ordered’) to network with the attending representatives of employers who have been recognised by Lowland RFCA for their support and commitment towards the Defence community. Just as the night was ending, Fraser was engaged in conversation with Mr Gerry Hilferty, Managing Director of Brodie Engineering. An impromptu interview was conducted and a business card was proffered with the suggestion that work experience may be possible for pupils at secondary school. After submitting his CV, Jørgensen was offered the chance to spend two weeks at the Bonnyton Rail Depot site shadowing the production team learning about the different trades with hands-on learning within the engineering team.

Train factory Brodie Engineering

Brodie Engineering is an engineering business offering a comprehensive range of refurbishment, maintenance, overhaul, engineering support, project management, and repair services to the UK rail and light rail sector. It was with great anticipation, and a little trepidation, that fourteen-year-old Fraser readied himself to undertake his internship. How should he prepare for such an opportunity? Well, he need have looked no further than the ACF. On reflection, the parallels and similarities between the work experience and cadet experience were striking. 


A reccy was organised to navigate the way across unfamiliar territory and county borders from Lanarkshire to Ayrshire. Map reading came into play, finding handrails like the M77 to guide. Estimating distance and travel times were also important, to set the alarm clock in plenty of time (0545 to be precise to not be late for an 0800 start, for which reveille at ACF camp was good training).


On day one at Brodie, experience of moving in the field (such as leopard crawling) came into its own as the young pre-apprentice was sent under the belly of a train which was under refurbishment. Knowing to keep your head down was an additional survival skill that was also in common with ACF. Grinding dust or soot as the camo cream of industry allowed the new recruit to blend into his surroundings.

Train carriage in factory

Drill and Turnout

Boots were issued as safety equipment, that had to be carefully and neatly stowed, just as for kit inspection in the ACF, along with industry ‘uniform’ of overalls, bump cap, goggles and ear plugs – the analogous issue of MTP smock, headdress, safety specs and ear defenders when on the range all being very familiar to an ACF cadet.

Skill at Arms

Grease guns, impact drivers and adjustable spanners are the weapons of choice for the Brodie Engineering teams. Care of your weapon, and the precision and accuracy demanded on the ACF range were skills that could be transferred into the workplace.  

First Aid

With 25,000 volts overhead, risk assessing was imperative. With less lethal but nonetheless hazardous equipment everywhere in a workshop, basic First Aid taught at ACF would be essential to deal calmly with cut injuries (of which there were none) or bumps and bruises (of which there were a few). 

Train factory

Badges of Rank

Brodie Engineering proved to be a very friendly and welcoming environment keen to nurture the next generation and assist them in their STEM career choices. No difference was made between the temporary and long-term members of the team. Even so, recognising differences was handy – an adjustable spanner in hand tended to indicate ‘squaddie’ while a clipboard or paperwork was more likely an ‘office(r)’. 

Reflecting on his experience, Fraser remarked: ‘My work experience at Brodie Engineering was thoroughly enjoyable, dirty at times, but nothing that fieldcraft training with the ACF hadn’t prepared me for. 

‘Having the opportunity to work on, and contribute to, the overhaul efforts of roughly 40-year-old carriages was an unparalleled experience. I was able to employ some of my electrical and mechanical skills as well as accruing new skills in a hands-on way.

At the end of each day, there was job satisfaction knowing the work that I had done had advanced the project that little bit closer to the finish line, and, the prospect of a return to the comfy car for a sleep on the way home. Thanks to my mentors who were great and more than willing to pass on their knowledge.’

Gerry Hilferty Signs AFC

Photo: Gerry Hilferty Signs The Armed Forces Covenant at 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron, 2019

Managing Director of Brodie Engineering, Gerry Hilferty, said: 

‘It was a pleasure to be able to offer Fraser the opportunity of work experience at Brodie Engineering, as part of our summer work experience programme. From the very first discussion, Fraser demonstrated a level of maturity and aptitude rarely seen in young people of his age.  

‘His experiences, knowledge and capability gained through the Cadets shone. The feedback from Brodie’s production team was that he showed up every day with a smile, eager to learn and ready to get stuck in and help with the task at hand; leaving at the end of the day with the same smile albeit on his slightly grubbier face. 

‘It is young people like Fraser and the rounded experiences they gain through the Cadets that enables Brodie Engineering to offer a comprehensive summer work experience programme year on year, shaping and developing the next generation.’

Reserve Forces
Royal Navy Logo Royal Marines Commando Logo Army Logo RAF Reserve Forces Logo
Sea Cadets Logo Army Cadet Force Logo Air Cadets Logo Combined Cadet Force Logo