In December 2014 Cygnet Texkimp welcomed its first female engineering apprentice in the company’s 40-year history.

Katey Ikin, age 17, is in her second year of studying engineering at Mid Cheshire College. ‘I liked the idea of going to university, but the idea of being able to be hands-on and also learning the theory appealed to me more. That’s why I knew an apprenticeship was for me. At Cygnet I am able to apply myself in both mechanical and electrical skills, putting my college course to best use.’

Katey is one of four engineering apprentices currently working at Cygnet Group Ltd., her apprenticeship lasts three years and throughout that time she will still be working towards her level 3 BTEC in engineering. On completion of the scheme, Katey hopes to continue to develop her skills by studying for her HNC diploma in engineering whilst maintaining hands on work at Cygnet.

‘I’ve never wanted to be anything else; I’ve always wanted to go into engineering. It started from a very young age when I began to get into Top Gear and motorsports. It’s something I’m passionate about, it seemed stupid to go into anything else when I could do something I loved.’

Only 3.4% of engineering apprentices in the UK are female – the lowest in the European Union. Cygnet Group is committed to investing in local young people and providing career opportunities in engineering. This is why the company set up its apprenticeship academy in 2013, to provide young people with the training and support required to secure a skilled position in the engineering industry.

‘I don’t think many women see engineering as a career choice as it is stereotypically a male dominated world. It can be quite intimidating to be the only girl in the classroom and always a worry to get labelled ‘that girl’ but I haven’t found this at all. Everyone has been so accepting and encouraging, they don’t care that I’m female, they just want me to succeed.’

The Cygnet Group’s Apprenticeship Academy offers access to fantastic career opportunities in engineering within a multi-award winning and growing group of businesses. The scheme provides the chance to ‘earn while you learn’, and offers exciting training and career development.