A 25-year-old apprentice from Llanelli wants to inspire a generation of female engineers through tackling stereotypes in the workplace.
Emily Owens, an Apprentice Engineer at telecommunications giant Openreach, says apprenticeships can be the perfect opportunity for school leavers who are unsure on their next steps.
She is eager to encourage other women, whether they’re leaving education or thinking about changing career, to consider apprenticeship opportunities in engineering.
She said: “People assume STEM is a man’s world, but it’s really not. We need to inspire the next generation to tackle this unconscious bias. If science and mathematics interest you, I’d encourage any school leaver, especially young women, to take the leap and follow a career in engineering.
“Apprenticeships are a great way for women to challenge stereotypes and excel in the STEM industries. There is a lot of support out there – all you need is the confidence to go for it.”
Emily always knew that a career in STEM was her calling but was unsure of her next steps after graduating from university. This was until she came across her Engineering Apprenticeship on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Vacancy Service.
Keen for a new challenge and with no prior experience in engineering, this opportunity allowed her to learn on-the-job.
She continued: “A lot of employers asked for work experience over my qualifications, and I wasn’t having any luck. That was when I found my apprenticeship and was instantly excited.
“Openreach didn’t ask for any prior knowledge, with me being paid to learn the skills of the trade while starting a career which really interested me. I applied for the role – it was a no-brainer really!”
After beginning her apprenticeship, Emily discovered that many of the skills she had gained in her biology degree were transferrable to her new role.
“Although some of the skills from my Biology degree were specific, I was able to apply and improve some other skills within my new role, like communication skills, team work and problem solving skills.
“I’m improving my communication every day when talking to customers, and problem-solving is a huge part of my role – having to work in the fibre optic network both under and overground. My role is very technical, I have to connect cables from underground or overhead networks to the customer’s property. I’m also grateful I’m able to learn from other members of the business day in, day out.
“It’s been a huge benefit being able to earn money while I have been learning and gaining my qualifications. It’s also great knowing that the qualifications I’ve gained while working at Openreach are not just recognised at this company, but within the whole industry.”
Emily continued: “I lacked confidence at the start of my apprenticeship, especially in a male-dominated industry, but I’ve had so much support from Openreach throughout my time here. I’ve had access to a mentor to guide me through the theory, and a buddy to help me through my practical work alongside my manager.”
Emily is keen to continue to develop her Engineering knowledge further than her apprenticeship.
“I will finish my Apprenticeship later this summer, but the training won’t stop there. I’ve already signed up to more courses through Openreach and my next step is do a faulting course; I’d like to be one of the best in the business”.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government wants to create a fairer and more prosperous Wales, where nobody is left behind.
“That’s why we are investing a further £366m over the next three years to deliver 125,000 apprenticeships across Wales for all ages. This supports our commitment to ensure at least 90% of all 16–24-year-olds in Wales will be in education, employment, or training by 2050.
“Apprenticeships are a genius decision, for both employers seeking to future-proof their workforces while nurturing the talent that exists within Wales, and for people who want a proven route into employment that provides the opportunity to learn while earning a wage.
“We are also determined to increase the number of women working in STEM, as evidence tells us that a diverse workforce increases profitability, productivity and creativity across industry.
“I wish Emily the best of luck in her chosen career, and urge other young women to embrace the opportunities STEM subjects can offer.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
To explore what apprenticeship opportunities are currently available in Wales, visit the Apprenticeship Vacancy Service.
Farmers to tell the story of how Pembrokeshire’s food is produced to local school children
Plan to improve Welsh Language provision in Neath Port Talbot schools approved
Covid commemorative project close to completion across four hospitals
Morrisons offers shoppers money off fuel vouchers as cost of living crisis continues to bite
Young Mostyn goes a long way to thank hospital staff after bone marrow transplant
Hundreds sign petition to make a Llanelli road safer
Free School Meals: Welsh Government do not know how many primary schools in Wales require upgrades to kitchens
Swansea sports clubs who play on council-owned pitches to get further support
Latest consultation dates announced for massive new Fforestfach solar farm
Masterplan launched to transform a Swansea community
Bus drivers set to walk out in First Cymru pay dispute
From stamps and coins to passports and police helmets: What will change following the death of the Queen
Gorseinon pub overlooking rugby and cricket club could become flats
Smoke seen for miles as former Cinderella nightclub on Mumbles Pier catches fire
Council suspends non-essential services on September 19
Bus strikes back on after Queen’s funeral postponement
Plans for apartments on former Neath Workingmen’s Club site
Pembrokeshire crowds ready to welcome 10th IRONMAN Wales
Man arrested for attempted murder in Aberavon crossbow incident
Tributes paid to HM Queen Elizabeth II as communities prepare mourning arrangements
Bridgend7 days ago
Bus strike cancelled after First Cymru and unions come to agreement
Cycling3 days ago
Former Pontarddulais railway line transformed into new walking and cycling route
Port Talbot2 days ago
Police appeal for information after fatal Port Talbot crash
Cricket3 days ago
Pontarddulais Cricket Club secures support from national housebuilder
Transport for Wales3 days ago
Majority of trains across Wales to be hit by fresh strike action
Port Talbot4 days ago
How one woman’s tragic loss helped save a child given just hours to live
Film & TV7 days ago
Council joins with Odeon to make silver screen offer for the over 50s
Dance6 days ago
Strictly Come Dancing: Ellie Simmonds talks first dances, fake tan and facing off for Glitterball glory