Former apprentice is a pioneer for females in engineering

A former apprentice from Tameside has shown that engineering is not just a man's world. 

Sadie Kennedy (pictured) recently completed an apprenticeship with Growth Company Education and Skills and is now working towards a Higher National Certificate (HNC), working at the Hyde Group Limited in Dukinfield. 

Prior to starting her apprenticeship, Sadie was working at Aldi but this was just a stop gap because she wanted to do a more practical, hands-on job.

Sadie enrolled onto a short MIG welding course and that is when her passion for welding began.

Sadie is glad that she chose to do an apprenticeship, she said: “I feel empowered, trusted to do a job and I feel valued by my supervisor. I have loved the opportunity of doing a qualification whilst being paid to be in work. I enjoy the rapport with my colleagues.”

HR Manager at the Hyde Group, Pamela Dodd, is full of praise for Sadie.

She said: “Since starting her apprenticeship, Sadie has improved in terms of developing her welding skills and can now weld even the most complex jobs. Sadie will take herself outside her comfort zone and challenge herself. The biggest thing for me was when we entered the Business University Challenge run by the Northwest Aerospace Alliance in 2019.

"Sadie was nervous about public speaking, but she delivered an excellent presentation, getting excellent feedback from the chair of the NWAA. It was obvious from that event that Sadie had excellent leadership skills and as a company, we came fourth in that event.

"From the moment I met Sadie, I thought what a breath of fresh air and I was excited to find such fresh talent that we could work with as a group. Sadie brings with her positivity, resilience, determination and high standards. Sadie is an excellent welder and commands respect from her peers who have 20 years more experience than she has." 

Sadie feels that more needs to be done to encourage girls into engineering.

“When you look in the catalogue when ordering workwear, it is all men. It is stereotyping”, said Sadie. "When you look back to the 2nd World War and the men went out to serve their country, the women stepped up and welded. There were women welders! I would tell women just to go for it.”

Pamela added: “Sadie is the first female apprentice in the group. Since then we have taken on more female apprentices, so Sadie has been a pioneer. I believe that there is still a stereotype around engineering being a man’s job and that more needs to be done to encourage girls to consider a career in engineering, and for me, I think that it starts with the schools though promoting engineering as a career for anybody of any race, gender or academic ability.

"I am currently trying to get into a local all-girls school to offer work experience and to promote engineering as a career. I also think that more can be done to influence parents as well.”

Sadie has now progressed on to a higher level of study and wants to complete management training. Her long-term goal is to be a manager in the engineering sector.

Pamela would recommend recruiting an apprentice, adding: “If a business was considering recruiting an apprentice and asked my advice, I would say GO FOR IT! There is so much real talent out there. Don’t just think of an apprentice as being a school leaver, you may get a college leaver after A levels or you may get someone in their mid-20’s looking for a career change as we did with Sadie.”

Growth Company Education and Skills is one of the largest providers of work-based learning for young people and adults in the North West. 

They can help anyone who would like to follow in Sadie's footsteps find the right apprenticeship for them. 

You can get in touch here: https://www.gceducationandskills.ac.uk/contact-us/

Employers can find out more about recruiting apprentices and the government incentives on offer here: https://www.gceducationandskills.ac.uk/for-business/latest-government-initiatives/

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