“I believe it is important to raise the profile of apprenticeships because there is an overall lack of knowledge when it comes to the types of apprenticeships available and a shortage of women in the field,” says Jasmine. “I want to show others the wide variety of opportunities within engineering, the skills you can learn and what you can achieve even during the early stages of your career as an apprentice”.
Josie is equally keen to promote the benefits of the apprenticeship route: “For the right people, an apprenticeship can be life-changing. If you have the enthusiasm, you can go far – and take advantage of opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise get at a young age.
“I think it’s good for the industry too. I really believe that an apprenticeship is the most efficient and effective route to producing good engineers. All engineers should be committed to continuing professional development and apprenticeships install a proactive approach to learning from very early on.”
Diverse and inclusive
On a wider level, both Josie and Jasmine believe that attracting people from different backgrounds to the industry can only be a good thing. “Diversity of people – whether that’s in age, race, gender or ability – can help bring attention to issues that others may have overlooked,” Josie comments. “It’s important to have teams that demographically resemble the population they serve; it makes them better able to empathise with end users. For this reason, it’s important not to focus solely on young people, but also to make the apprenticeship route attractive to people who are changing careers – older people who would bring different experiences."
As engineers strive to deliver a sustainable and safe built environment for future generations, HS2 has led the way with an equality and diversity standard across its supply chain, as well as initiatives to encourage women into the very male-dominated field of rail engineering. Jasmine thinks that challenging preconceptions is key to getting more people from underrepresented groups into engineering.
“You need to challenge the stereotypical view of what an engineer is which will allow people from different backgrounds to remove the stereotype and see themselves in the role. It is important for people to hear stories from others with similar backgrounds, which is why I’m happy to share my story. But we also need to be honest about the types of issues you may face and provide solutions. This will help to relieve any anxiety about joining the field.”
Josie agrees. “If we all take small steps to promote our industry and the opportunities in it, we can make a big difference.”