Today is National Women in Engineering day, and the National Apprenticeship Service has taken the opportunity to recognise the success of engineering apprenticeships and the benefits they bring to employers and individuals.

In 2012/13 over half a million people started an Apprenticeship, and this included over 66,000 in Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies.

Sue Husband, Executive Director Apprenticeship and Delivery Services at the Skills Funding Agency says:

“The engineering sector has a proud history of Apprenticeships and now, against the back-drop of an ageing workforce and an increasing demand for higher skills, their importance has never been greater.

“The balance of on and off the job training is perfect for the sector, and allows apprentices to build their theoretical knowledge and practical skills, whilst gaining real life experience working in the industry.

“Naturally it’s an extremely broad field, so there’s a good range of Apprenticeships to choose from, including Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, Rail Engineering and many more. Today is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all our apprentices, including the abundance of excellent female engineering apprentices.”

Zoe Haycocks chose an Advance Engineering Manufacture Apprenticeship with Red Bull Technologies to pursue a dream career in Formula One.

In April 2012 Zoe began her Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture, employed by Red Bull Technology while studying at Milton Keynes College.

“I am on rotation around manufacturing departments including the machine shop, inspection and composite departments,” explains Zoe.

“This is so I get a good understanding of the manufacturing processes involved in producing a Formula One car. It will also help me decide where I want to specialise for the last two years of my Apprenticeship.

“I have benefited a lot from this environment as I feel I have learned more through practical than theory work,” she says.

“Of course I still attend college, and it’s very useful to put what I learn into practice at work.”

Zoe will finish her Apprenticeship in April 2015. Her goal is to rise to the top of her profession, and she wouldn’t hesitate to encourage others to take up an Apprenticeship as a way of helping them achieve the same.

“I would definitely recommend an Apprenticeship, because you work with a lot of experienced people, and this gives you a great opportunity to gain your own experience.”

With the expansion of Higher Apprenticeships, apprentices’ opportunities for career progression are increasing.

The Higher Engineering Apprenticeship can be applied across a range of sectors, from aerospace and automotive to electrical and electronics. Higher apprentices work towards achieving engineering technician or incorporated engineer status in their field of specialisation.

Higher apprentices learn a range of advanced skills and complete a Level 4 NVQ in Engineering Leadership. They also take a relevant HNC, HND, or Foundation Degree, which could lead to progression to an Honours degree in Engineering Technology.

Aspiring engineers may also like to consider a Traineeship.

Traineeships help young people to get their foot on the ladder towards a career in engineering by giving them the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

A Traineeship is a training programme with work experience that unlocks the great potential of young people and prepares them for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’.

Traineeships give young people aged 16 to 23 (16 to 24 from August 2014) the essential work preparation training, maths and English skills and work experience needed to get an Apprenticeship or other job.

To find out more about National Women in Engineering Day visit nwed.org.uk

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