Bethany Brown started her apprenticeship with Tata Technologies Limited (TTL) in 2016. Here we catch up with Bethany to talk about her journey from engineering apprentice to Junior Engineer.
Why did you choose a career in engineering?
My dad is an engineer so this did positively influence my decision. Originally I related engineering to fixing things and dirty hands, but my dad was able to give me a different perspective of what it entailed. We are also both similar in our way of thinking in that we will see a problem and want to understand the processes involved to identify solutions.
Initially I studied Business, Economics, Biology and Chemistry at A-level and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or whether University was the right route for me. A turning point was when I visited a Jaguar Land Rover dealership with my dad and was so impressed with the automotive technology that I thought I would really like to understand how things are made and be a part of it. I was aware that there are not many women in the engineering sector, but I certainly didn’t let that deter me.
Tell us about your apprenticeship
Naively I thought that my apprenticeship training would be office based, so when I first entered the Technical Centre at MGTS and saw all the machinery I really felt outside of my comfort zone and started to doubt whether I would fit in or be good enough to succeed. I was like a rabbit in the headlights…with painted nails.
My first year at MGTS turned out to be the most challenging part of my educational journey to date but also the most rewarding. I quickly adopted the attitude that I needed to give it my all and enjoy learning the practical elements (milling, turning, fitting and welding) which would contribute to my end goal of becoming an engineer.
The tutors made learning fun; they were very supportive and I was never seen as any different to the male apprentices. I have the attitude that you need to work hard to achieve and was so proud to receive a variety of awards during my time at MGTS including ‘First Year Advanced Apprentice of the Year’, ‘First Year BTEC Student of the Year’ and ‘HNC Programme Student of the Year’.
My MGTS Training and Development Adviser (TDA) continually supported my apprenticeship journey and development to ensure the best of my potential was achieved. He visited my workplace on a regular basis to monitor progress and was always just a phone call away. I was encouraged to strive above and beyond and was given the confidence to do so.
What has been your experience at TTL?
I was part of the first ever intake of engineering apprentices at TTL and spent time with a range of male and female mentors. I demonstrated that I was eager to be developed and enjoyed the challenge of proving that I was just as good as my male counterparts. Now as a Junior Engineer I am proud of the wide range of skills and experience that I have gained.
I am currently a core member of the Interiors Team (technology that incorporates Instrument Panel and Console, Airbags, Trim and Tread Plates for example).
My role involves:
- Supporting the progression of design for component, systems and sub-systems from initial concept through to Engineering Sign-Off and design gateways
- Supporting vehicle launch and pre-production builds
- Liaison with suppliers
- Using CAD software
- Program management processes
- Reporting on design progress both at virtual and physical stages of its development to various levels of the business and the customer
What are the plans for your future?
I have created a Development Plan which my Team Leader regularly reviews and helps to ensure that I stay on track with my learning, and when the time is right in the future I plan to complete a degree in engineering. Until that time I will continue to progress and make a name for myself.
What would you say to anyone considering an engineering apprenticeship?
My message would be to embrace the experience and cherish this time. More and more employers are looking for experience as well as qualifications…with an apprenticeship you benefit from both (let’s not forget earning a salary too). I would love for more females to join the industry and it’s satisfying to witness TTL continue to recruit high-calibre female engineering apprentices each year.