Young women are being encouraged to consider a career in engineering by four female apprentices from a Newton Aycliffe engineering training centre.
International Women in Engineering Day is an annual celebration of the achievements of outstanding women engineers which aims to raise awareness of the huge range of opportunities for young women in the sector.
Hundreds of events took place across the UK on Friday (June 23), including taster sessions and workshops being held at schools, colleges, universities and engineering firms.
The four apprentices from South West Durham Training on Aycliffe Business Park are helping to promote International Women in Engineering Day to encourage other young women to consider a career in engineering.
Danika Gilpin, 17, and Kerrie Brown, 26, are both from Darlington and are advanced apprentices in engineering maintenance at Cummins Engineering, and Chloe Reeves, 17, from Sunderland, is a fabrication and welding advanced apprentice with Mech-Tool Engineering in Darlington.
Their SWDT colleague Chloe Little, 19, from Billingham, completed A levels in Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics last year before securing her maintenance and operations apprenticeship with GlaxoSmithKline plc in Barnard Castle.
Now a year into her four year apprenticeship, she will attain a Level 3 BTEC and an HNC, then plans to take a degree. Chloe spends term time at SWDT and out of term time enjoys work experience at GSK, ranging from PLC programming to welding.
She said: “I have always been interested in maths and science but didn’t know what career I would like to pursue. My dad works in the engineering industry and told me about the different possibilities. I applied to GlaxoSmithKline directly through their website by filling out the online application.
“The apprenticeship is going really well. The training we do at SWDT is invaluable because it gives you the opportunity to learn as much as you can in a supervised environment. I am increasing my knowledge all of the time and get to put some of the skills I have learnt into practice whilst on-site.
“When I complete my apprenticeship I will be considered a multi-skilled technician; this ranges across electrical, mechanical and instrument aspects. I would like to specialise in a trade eventually and possibly move up into leadership roles.”
Chloe urged other young women thinking about engineering to follow her lead. She said: “I think that anybody that is interested in engineering should research the different possibilities as there are so many different fields and routes you can take to get into engineering.
“From the outside people may perceive the industry to be predominantly male; however everyone I work with is welcoming and encouraging.”
An open evening is being held at South West Durham Training on Tuesday July 11 from 5pm to 7pm where specialist tutors will be available to discuss full time courses and apprenticeships in fabrication, welding, toolmaking, machining, maintenance and electrical and give tours of the fantastic facilities. See swdt.co.uk for details.
More information about International Women in Engineering Day can be found at inwed.org.uk