Helen Wilson – Case Study

STEGTA Training Officer

On leaving school in 1989 with a good set of GCSE’s, I decided I wanted to do a technical/practical role, I didn’t want to go to college full time and I wanted a car, money and independence.

I applied for various apprenticeships, including engineering at a local training centre. I had friends that went there and they said you could go to College and do practical work, it sounded just up my street. I could carry on with my studies and do practical work. I had always liked making things and I couldn’t sit at a computer all day.

As an engineering apprentice at William Fairey Engineering Ltd., I completed one year’s broad based training in a training centre and then went on to do further training in company achieving a level 3 NVQ. I also attended College on a day release basis and completed a BTEC First Certificate and National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. I could work at my own pace and my training officer kept a close eye on me.

I continued to study after my apprenticeship and achieved a Higher National Diploma and a BEng (Hons) in Manufacturing Engineering at Salford University. This led into a Manufacturing Engineering role at OSRAM Lighting and then Belle Engineering which I really enjoyed. I developed my communication skills by working with the operators streamlining production. This part I most enjoyed about my engineering career.

After having children, I decided to go into education so my work would fit in with family life. I trained to be a Training Officer and completed a PGCE at night school. I have worked as a training officer for 10 years now and thoroughly enjoy working with apprentices and helping them achieve as I did.

The advice I would give to a young female looking to go into an engineering career would be to follow your dream regardless of your gender! Good Luck!