National Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of the impact that in-work training can have on careers, employers and the broader economy, with people around the UK celebrating apprenticeships and the exciting career paths they lead to.

Raytheon, the defence and technology company, supports over 460 apprentices in any one year in the UK. It provides training services for external businesses and the apprentices it directly employs, helping it to generate a rich pipeline of personnel learning on the job and contributing to exciting, fast-paced roles.

Rosie, from Chester, is an apprentice aircraft fitter who joined Raytheon in August 2017.

She tells us about her experience so far:

Why did you choose to go into engineering and when and where did that interest in engineering begin?

I come from a family that all race cars, so building the car in the garage after school and watching it race at the weekends was just normal to me. I didn’t really link the hobby and career together until I chose engineering for my GCSE options. We went on a trip to the Wales Rally GB, where I realised that a career in engineering was available and a real option for me.

What do you enjoy about your day-to-day role as an apprentice?

My work goes from being created and fitted on the ground to flying at top speed at 35,000ft. That’s an incredible thrill.
Being an apprentice in the airborne team is also really varied – there is something different every day. Different jobs on different aircrafts present their own challenges and so you work through those challenges to get the job done and get the aircraft flying. I’m always learning because it’s such a stimulating day-to-day role.

What your advice would you give someone considering engineering either as a career or an apprenticeship?

My advice to people wanting to pursue engineering would be to go for it. Don’t worry about what people say and throw yourself into it. Talk to people who do the job, maybe get some work experience and ultimately do what you think is best for you.

An apprenticeship can be a really enjoyable way of doing that, because you’re learning on the job, but you’ve got to take that leap.

Do you think apprenticeship schemes can help create more of a gender balance in engineering?

It’s important for every girl to know that they have the option to be an engineer. When I give talks to schools and clubs, I’m not there to make everyone in the room want to be engineers.
When I’m there, my job is to ensure that pupils are aware of the opportunities available to them in the engineering sector, like apprenticeships, and the benefits of enrolling in one.

I also think it’s important to talk to the parents and teachers. At the end of the day we don’t know what we don’t know. That’s where we, as engineers, need to be helping to teach carers and educators about what it means to be an engineer, and the opportunities that are out there through apprenticeships.

Tell us about an achievement that you are most proud of

A professional achievement is getting through to the World Skills UK finals, which are all about crowning the UK’s best young apprentices and students. I was the only female to make it through to the finals in the aeronautical engineering category in that year, and I was delighted to represent myself and Raytheon.

As for personal achievements, I am really proud to have a role that gives me the opportunity to represent the company and hopefully inspire others to pursue a career in what they enjoy.

Read more about National Apprenticeship Week 2020