27/11/2017 13:18 GMT | Updated 27/11/2017 13:18 GMT

Apprenticeships In Engineering Offer A Wealth Of Opportunities For Young People

I’m an Instrumentation and Control Technician at SemLogistics, an Upper Tier COMAH oil storage facility in Pembrokeshire. I work four days per week on site and one day studying at university for my Electronics Degree. I have a good salary, no student debt plus the support and funding from my employer to complete my degree and progress within the company.

However, I am the only female technician at SemLogistics - it’s a totally male dominated environment.

And, in fact, UK-wide, only 9% of engineers are women.

I love my job though and see it as my duty to overturn preconceived ideas about the engineering sector and share my positive experiences. I want to help other girls and women open their minds to consider careers in engineering as I know first-hand what a rewarding and enjoyable career it can be.

My role involves working with field instrumentation which measures and reports on the process conditions of the site. The work I do is vital for minimising equipment downtime, therefore increasing productivity and safety on site.

At school, I enjoyed the STEM subjects and took physics, maths and biology at A-level. At the time, I had no idea of the career options available in engineering – that doesn’t seem to be taught in school. It was only when I arranged some work experience at a local industrial site that I discovered an interest in instrumentation and control.

I come from rural Pembrokeshire in South West Wales where there are limited career options. At school, it was only ever suggested to me that I complete my A-Levels and progress onto an engineering degree at university.

I decided to do a bit more research and happened upon an apprenticeship scheme whereby I would gain hands on experience whilst completing academic studies and get paid to do so. This really appealed to me. It has been an incredibly positive experience and, I can confidently say it was the best decision I could have made for my future.

It has also given me a springboard to work towards further academic qualifications. I am now completing my degree and have the skills and knowledge to achieve in my career, both practically and utilising theory based knowledge.

I am still only 21 years old and I find it rewarding to have the confidence to share my ideas and exceed people’s expectations in a field which is known for being dominated by men.

My apprenticeship has provided me with the ideal platform to build my career. I have already achieved so much, and now I am a finalist for the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards 2017, effectively a STEM ambassador, to help inspire other women into the industry. It’s a role I take very seriously and will do all I can to encourage others to consider engineering as a career option.

Ellie is a finalist in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards 2017