Flying the flag for female Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) apprentices across Shropshire is 20-year-old Ella Jones.
She’s a role-model for all those toying with the idea of undertaking an apprenticeship over a university degree course.
Ella plumped for the former route after completing her A-Levels and has absolutely no regrets.
She’s currently in the second year of an apprenticeship with leading manufacturer Grainger & Worrall and the paid, practical, on the job learning is suiting her down to the ground.
She’s not only gaining valuable skills but also essential work experience and qualifications to help develop her career.
Ella spends two days a week at Grainger & Worrall’s site in Bridgnorth and three days at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Skills, also located in Bridgnorth.
She said: “The first year of my apprenticeship has given me the valuable engineering foundations and skills needed to move forward with my career, with both G&W and MCMT providing experience, skills and lessons.
“With three days a week at MCMT and two days a week at G&W it’s been great to put the lessons I’ve learnt to use in both environments.
“So far at MCMT I have been involved in fitting, turning, health and safety, business improvement techniques, maths and I am shortly starting milling.”
Ella’s apprenticeship in Technical Support covers general engineering processes as well as more specific skills which are required at G&W.
The programme of study covers a variety of STEM-related hands-on skills such as fitting, turning, milling, CNC, electrical and welding as well as mathematics, communication, materials, CAD and health and safety in the workplace.
And, Ella could not rate it more highly.
She said: “It’s brilliant. I get to work with a really good group of people, led by experts, and the training to work ratio means I can see how the academic side relates to actual projects.”
Ella’s plan is to continue to balance work and study to degree level in Engineering.