Katey joined Cygnet Texkimp as an apprentice engineer in 2014 and combines her work here with HND and HNC studies at Mid-Cheshire College.
When did your interest in engineering begin:
“From a very young age, I was fascinated in cars. Engineering runs in my family too, so I’ve always been aware of it as a good career. My Great Grandad worked on Hurricanes and Wellington bombers in the Second World War, and I have a second cousin who is a successful engineer in Canada.”
How did you start engineering?
“I was lucky enough to be able to study GCSE electronics at school – a year before the course was sadly scrapped – and I loved it!
“I knew then that this was what I really wanted to do as my career, so when I finished high school I joined Mid-Cheshire College to study my level 3 Extended Diploma and then persue an HND and HNC in electrical engineering. I’m the only girl in my year at college and I think it’s a shame other girls aren’t taking up the same opportunities to work in this field.”
Why do you think more girls aren’t pursuing careers in engineering?
“There’s still a misconception that careers in engineering are all about heavy, dirty work, and that puts lots of girls off. But it’s just not true: there are so many types of engineering, from product design and electrical engineering, to civil and mechanical engineering. There isn’t enough awareness of what a career in engineering can look like, particularly at the time girls are choosing subjects at GCSE.
“I also think there aren’t enough female teachers teaching science, maths and technology subjects in schools and colleges, to inspire the next generation of female engineers.”
What do you enjoy about being a Cygnet Texkimp apprentice?
“Being a Cygnet Texkimp apprentice gives me the opportunity to work across a range of engineering disciplines, including electrical, mechanical and product design, and that is helping me to get the experience I need to choose where I want to specialise in the future.”
Ricky began a 3.5-year electrical apprenticeship in September 2014 and combines his training at Cygnet Texkimp with studies at South Cheshire College.
We asked Ricky how his career as an apprentice began:
“My Dad, Mike, is an engineer at Cygnet Texkimp, and I used to take every chance I could get to visit him at work. I loved the environment and the team camaraderie. I felt comfortable here and I knew this was something I wanted to be part of.
“So when I heard about the company’s apprenticeship scheme, I was determined to give it my best shot. I had no formal engineering experience though, so after I finished by GCSEs I asked team leader Matt Crabtree if I could come and do two weeks’ work experience here.
“That was really valuable, not only to prove that I was committed to the job, but also to confirm to myself that this really was the career for me, and to give me more confidence when it came to applying and interviewing for the apprenticeship.
“I was finally offered the position after two interviews and it has been as good as I was hoping.”
What are you enjoying about the role?
“Cygnet Texkimp is a great family business with a really friendly team. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment to start my career in.
“I love the work itself and am beginning to understand it in real depth, which is very satisfying. I’m encouraged to take the initiative and make decisions myself, but always with the support of my team. I’ve started planning small jobs on my own, specifying what’s needed, placing orders and then carrying out the work.”
What are you looking forward to doing as an electrical engineer?
“Ultimately, I’d love to travel as part of the installation and commissioning teams who work at our customers’ sites around the world.”
Kelly began her three-and-a-half-year mechanical apprenticeship with Cygnet Texkimp in August 2015 and combines her training with studies in engineering at West Cheshire College.
We asked her how she got into engineering:
“I’ve had a natural interest in science and engineering for as long as I can remember. My Dad and I loved tinkering with the car, and together we built and wired up a pool shed in the back garden.
“I studied forensic science at A Level and completed three years’ training to become a qualified butcher, but butchery’s a dying trade and I wanted to be part of something that was growing. I was keen to learn a good trade; to take a direct route into an interesting career, and the apprenticeship offers me a brilliant way to do that.”
How are you finding the apprenticeship?
“I love the variety of the work I’m doing. It’s a hands-on education and that’s brilliant. I’m encouraged to think for myself and apply the new skills I’m learning, but I know I always have the support of my colleagues when I need it.
“I’m finding my forensic science studies surprisingly useful in engineering too! There are lots of parallels between the way things work in nature and the way they work in mechanics and robotics.”