Every year for Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we like to showcase Ayrshire apprentices who are at various stages of their learning.
This afternoon we welcome Sarah Marsh to the blog.
Sarah Marsh initially thought university would be the right route for her to go down as she followed her engineering dream.
A lack of practical learning on her course soon persuaded her otherwise, and she decided to leave university after one year.
Not put off by this experience, she quickly explored other options.
Sarah said “I just knew I wanted to do something hands-on. I went to university for a year doing Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautics and I really liked the subject but I felt there was too much studying with no practical work.
“It was my Mum who saw the apprenticeship with UTC in the newspaper and encouraged me to apply. I always associated apprenticeships with trades such as joinery and bricklaying and didn’t really realise you could do engineering apprenticeships.
“A couple of weeks after sending in my application I was invited in to sit a theory test and a practical assessment, where I had to make a metal box. That was the first time I’d done a practical task like that and I thought I’d ruined my chances. But I got invited back for an interview, where we got a tour of the facility, and was offered the position the next day.”
Sarah, 20, is one of only a few female engineering apprentice taken on by UTC Aerospace Systems.
Sarah said “This is my dream position. I’m not bothered that it’s a male-dominated environment, I certainly haven’t experienced any bias because of my gender. I’m proud that I’m one of the first female apprentices they’ve taken on and I think it’s good for a company to get women in to these types of roles. Hopefully young women will now see that it’s something you can do and we’ll see more entering the industry. It’s an industry that has a really bright future so I was excited to become a part of it.”
Right now Sarah studies five days a week at Ayrshire College, splitting her time between the theory side of the apprenticeship, in NC Aeronautical Engineering, and the practical side, the SVQ Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) Level 5.
She said “Of course I do prefer the hands-on work here but the theory side has been very interesting too. I’d like to eventually go back and complete what I started at university, but I’d prefer to do it on my own time, combined with work, and I know that UTC will support me with this through our Employee Scholar Program. This is a scheme that allows any employee of UTC to undertake a degree-level qualification at no cost to the employee.”