Engineering may not be a traditional choice for girls but growing numbers are choosing this career path and seeing what huge potential it has. If you enjoy maths, science, technology and design, then this could be a very rewarding career for you. It could lead to an exciting job as a civil engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer or aviation engineer… the list goes on!
Not only is there a growing shortage of qualified engineers in the UK, as a girl you may find you’ll bring a totally different perspective to the table.
Becoming an apprentice through the National Apprenticeship Service means you get paid to study and train, which also means you won’t get saddled with debt. An apprenticeship with Red Bull Technologies enabled Zoe Haycocks to start her career in Formula One and here she explains why it has been so good and why you should consider an apprenticeship too.
1. Bring a new perspective to engineering
You will have the power to make a huge difference by becoming an engineer – and importantly, you will be able to solve problems that are genuinely significant. Engineering has been a traditionally male-orientated career but you could bring a totally different vision or option to the table. This, of course, could result in the perfect solution to whatever the task in hand is.
Zoe, from Milton Keynes, who obtained a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Engineering, says: “I have benefited a lot from my apprenticeship as it has allowed me to learn through practical rather than theory work.
“I was on rotation around manufacturing departments including the machine shop, inspection and composite departments.
“This gave me a good understanding of the manufacturing processes involved in producing a Formula One car. It helped me decide that I wanted to specialise in composite fitting in the last two years of my apprenticeship.”
2. Earn as you learn
You will learn your trade of choice while being paid at the same time. Unlike your contemporaries who could end up with significant amounts of debt after a three-year stint at uni, you will be able to gain qualifications without having to take out large student loans.
Zoe, who has now graduated to the role of Composite Fitter at Red Bull which includes fitting and bonding all the carbon fibre parts of a car together, says: “I’m 22 with no debt and a full-time job which I enjoy.
“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship, you work with a lot of experienced people, and this gives you a great opportunity to gain your own experience.”
3. Engineering - the ultimate field for constant challenges and endless creativity
If you are curious about how things work and like solving real world problems, then engineering is the perfect avenue for you. You will have to commit years of learning and practice to your field – but remember the creators of the iconic Millau Bridge in France or the Burj-al-Arab (one of the tallest and few seven-storey hotels in the world) in Dubai all started somewhere. Trust that you will eventually work on a fulfilling and exciting project at some point in your career.
4. Learn skills you can take anywhere
With engineering skills, you will be able to find a job anywhere around the world, working on a variety of different projects.
An apprenticeship will also show future employers that you have hit the ground running – at the same time as following your passion and having gained valuable practical and transferable skills.
Zoe says: “The more experience you have the more likely you’ll be able to do the job. If someone my age applied to my company with no experience they would find it difficult to secure this role.”
5. The rewards and opportunities
You could end up doing very exciting things, be it developing an undersea house, designing the next amusement park or making flying cars a reality. There’s no end to the possibilities in the engineering world.
And there are so many careers that you could end up developing after an apprenticeship in engineering – you could end up building structures that could start, or continue to, define our civilisation – such as bridges, buildings or transport systems. Or there are other areas where you could find yourself building planes, aircraft, robots or medical equipment or even computer programmes.
Fore more information about apprenticeships visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk