|Qualification:||Level 3 Apprenticeship in Electrical and Electronic Engineering|
Dated: 16th November 2018
Billie is currently completing her Electrical/Electronic Apprenticeship at BAE Systems, here’s her story:
“I have always been interested in Engineering; with Physics and Maths being both my best and my favourite subjects at school, so Engineering felt like a natural path for me to take within my career. I had originally planned to go to university, but while studying for my A Levels I decided to research into other options and with Apprenticeships on the rise and the option to “learn while you earn,” it seemed like the best choice for me.
Before I started my Apprenticeship, I completed a week’s work experience with BAE Systems. During this time, I spoke to existing Apprentices and found out more about their experiences, which gave me a better understanding of what would be entailed.
I applied for the Apprenticeship through BAE Systems and met IPS International, the Training Provider who deliver the Apprenticeship and who I spent the first nine months with, at the IPS Workshop in Rochester, working towards the BTEC and NVQ qualifications. It was a practical, hands-on year, giving me the necessary level of skills needed for working onsite at BAE Systems.
During the first year of my Apprenticeship I spent five days a week at IPS International, learning both practical and theoretical engineering skills, with a focus on electronics. I especially enjoyed the hands-on, workshop environment. This was an entirely new environment for me; it was great to gain experience in a friendly and safe place, following the appropriate training from industry experienced trainers.
I’m now in my second year (2018) and I have been spending one day a week at IPS International, working towards the BTEC qualification. I have lessons in Business Operations, Electronic Circuit Design & Manufacture, Principles & Applications of Electronic Devices & Circuits, Further Electrical Principles and Microprocessor Systems. The remaining four days are spent onsite at BAE Systems, where I am rotating through six different departments, learning more about BAE Systems and continuing to develop my skills acquired through IPS. I will finish my BTEC qualification at the end of this academic year.
While I was at IPS full time, it was easier to manage my time, now that I do just one day a week and spend the remaining four days onsite at BAE Systems, it is slightly harder to organise assignments around my work schedule. However, the trainers are supportive and always willing to discuss any scheduling issues. It’s been great having them always on hand for guidance, should it be necessary and they are always friendly and supportive and willing to help. “
Billie has gained an array of additional skills within her Apprenticeship, like improving communication and team building skills and her achievements have led to her being named BTEC Student of the Year: Best Student at the 2018 IPS International Apprenticeship Awards.
“In addition to the electronic engineering skills I have gained, I’ve also learned work-life skills while working with a diverse group of people helping me to improve upon my time management, communication and team-building skills. I needed an ICT qualification and I didn’t take GSCE ICT at school, so my Apprenticeship has enabled me to complete my ICT Functional Skills qualification, which has enabled me to fulfil an essential part of the Apprenticeship, without the added workload of a GCSE.
I hope the skills I have gained at IPS will continue to be put to good use onsite at BAE Systems.
Next year, I will choose the department where I hope to build on my previous experiences while continuing to progress my career.
I hope to complete my Apprenticeship, become a fully-trained Engineer and continue my academic development through to degree level.
I’m pleased that I chose to do an Apprenticeship. I would encourage anyone unsure about University or further education to also consider an Apprenticeship. An Apprenticeship at IPS International is a great way to gain qualifications while getting paid to do a job you love.
Update: 13th January 2020
Since starting out her Engineering Apprenticeship journey with her employer, BAE Systems and training at IPS International, Billie has progressed further going onto a Level 4 Apprenticeship and has recently been selected by Inclusive Boards to be part of the industry’s 100 Influential Women in UK Engineering list. What an amazing acheivement raising great awareness of women in Engineering. Well done Billie.
“I feel massively humbled to have been included on a list with so many amazing women, some of whom I’ve looked up to as role models in my own career! It’s great to know that the work I am doing is of value and it feels fantastic to have been recognised by both the Financial Times and Inclusive Boards, as well as within BAE Systems. There is a serious lack of women role models, leaving young girls without identifiable routes into Engineering, so it’s been so exciting to be included in this campaign shining a much-needed spotlight on women engineers, proving to young girls that women can and do make a positive impact in these typically male-dominated environments that they may not have considered previously.”
IPS would like to wish Billie all the best in her future career within BAE Systems.
*Photo provided by BAE Systems