As we’re not only in National Apprenticeship Week (5 – 9 March 2018), but also celebrating International Women’s day (8 March) we thought this was the ideal time to have a chat with one of our female apprentices, Rebecca Henry.
Industries like our own based in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are still struggling to attract women, with latest estimates suggesting that only 21 per cent of the UK’s STEM workforce is female. This is a tremendous shame as potentially both the individuals and the industries themselves are missing out. Rebecca is just one member of our female workforce demonstrating an innate talent for engineering and with a lot to bring to the sector.
Rebecca is 21 and lives in Newcastle. She has been with Tharsus since September 2015 and is in the third year of her electro-mechanical apprenticeship.
Rebecca impressed her colleagues from her very first day with her commitment, ambition and drive. Her skills have been acknowledged outside the business too, as Rebecca won the Final Year Intermediate-Advanced Apprentice Award in the regional heat of the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards last November.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship over the other options available to you? Had you considered doing anything else and what helped you decide?
My apprenticeship was a bit of a last minute decision actually. I completed my studies at Kenton School and I applied for university, but before I went too far down that road I had a change of heart. I’d been speaking to a friend who was completing a maintenance engineering apprenticeship with Royal Mail and they were so enthusiastic about what they were learning. All my other friends were heading off to study sports science (or similar) but I knew that I wanted to do something different and something which would challenge me. So instead of going to university, I decided to start looking for an apprenticeship. I found the opportunity with Tharsus online, applied, and the rest is history!
What most appealed to you about the position you applied for?
The versatility of the role and the multiple tasks and jobs I would get to do. The apprenticeship with Tharsus gave me the chance to work both mechanically and electrically so I didn’t have to decide upon one discipline straight away. I didn’t want to limit myself early on in my career, I wanted to explore everything to see what really appealed to me, so this opportunity was ideal for me in that respect.
Describe your typical work day…
A typical day for me starts about 7am, when I get up and get ready, feed the dog, eat my breakfast and leave about 7.30, arriving at Tharsus at roughly 7.45am.
Once in work my day gets a bit more variable! Currently my duties consist of observing one of our prototype projects, the Agile Vehicle Technologies (AVT) build, writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), recording snags, booking stock in, sorting quarantined stock and anything else AVT related. I’m usually busy all day but that’s OK, you’re never bored here.
When work is over, I usually head home, get changed, take the dog out and then most nights I go to football. I play for Blyth AFC so I’ve got a packed schedule, training on Tuesday and playing Friday and Sunday. I also coach for Kingston Park on Thursday and Saturday.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from your apprenticeship so far?
That it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
What’s your favourite thing about your role?
There is always the potential to learn new things. This is very important to me and has been ever since I started my apprenticeship, I’m keen to keep all my options open at this stage in my career. I want to experience as much as I can to help me make informed decisions on what I want to do further down the line.
If you could talk to anyone considering taking on an apprenticeship, what would you advise them?
How much you get out of it is up to you. There’s so much you can learn and so far you can go but essentially you will get as much out of an apprenticeship as you put in. As long as you apply yourself and are always willing to learn then you can progress as much as you want.