Engineering and Manufacturing Development Higher Apprentice, Jessica Stone, is the national winner in the category of Higher Apprentice – First Year, an award which she scooped up at the prestigious EEF Awards in London last month. Jessica has fought off tough competition to be crowned the national winner in her category as well as being the overall winner for the South West Region.
Jessica (21) from Portishead is a former student at Bristol Grammar School. After finishing her A Levels in maths, physics and design technology she took a gap year out to do volunteering and review her future plans. Having always dreamt of becoming an engineer but assumed that the only route to this career was through university, she knew there was no point of return when she came across a higher apprenticeship at Airbus, delivered in partnership with City of Bristol College and the University of the West of England (UWE).
Jessica is now in her second year of this four year programme, able to enjoy a wide range of development opportunities that the higher apprenticeship offers.
She commented: “Working for Airbus is such an exciting opportunity. The apprenticeship is everything I expected and more as I am able to get stuck in many different real work projects, working alongside and learning from other Airbus employees. The fact that I am able to make a contribution towards future proofing air travel excites me each and every day.”
Jessica is the first person in her family to embrace a career in STEM, let alone being a female in what is still often perceived to be predominantly male industry. Her perseverance has paid off not only in securing a place on a sought after higher apprenticeship but also in being recognised during the awards ceremony.
She reflected: “I would compare the application process for the apprenticeship to a job interview, it was definitely not a form filling exercise. Not having been through that many job interviews previously, it was a challenge but one worth taking. Since I started the apprenticeship, the support from City of Bristol of College has been excellent – there’s lots of it and available whenever you need it.
“I am also passionate about motivating more females to consider a career in this area and hopefully my awards will make a small contribution towards this.”
Tony Rooke, Head of Early Careers at Airbus Filton commented: “We’ve worked closely with City of Bristol College and UWE for over eight years now, recruiting and training more than 160 apprentices in partnership with them. We have worked with the College and the University to design and deliver a very successful aerospace engineering degree apprenticeship scheme, the first of its kind in the UK.”
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