Alice Graham, age 20, has been working at Agfa Graphics as an engineering apprentice for two and a half years and loves the variety in her work.

What does your role at Agfa involve?
I’ve been working for Agfa for two and a half years now. I’m a Mechanical Apprentice working in the maintenance department. Alongside my job I’m studying for qualifications, a NVQ and a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Mechanical Engineering.

My job is mainly preventative maintenance, checking equipment routinely to make sure it doesn’t break down, finding problems and solving them. It’s really interesting and varied. There are always issues that come up, or a problem occurs and you have to work backwards from there.

How did you get into engineering?
From an early age I’ve always been taking things apart and putting them back together. My grandad had a workshop down the bottom of the garden and he taught me how to use the lathe, handsaws and drills when I was about eight or nine. I’ve been very lucky with my family, they’ve encouraged me to do what I wanted to do.

We didn’t focus on engineering in school but one of my teachers encouraged me to go on a Smallpiece Trust summer school at Newcastle University and that was engineering based.

How did you get into an apprenticeship?
I did a year of A Levels and then I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship but I was too late for that year. I went to Leeds City College instead and did a Performance Engineering Operations course in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, then applied for apprenticeships.

What is good about your engineering role?

What I like most is the variety. There’s always lots to learn. If you’re working on a piece of equipment, you have to think how to make it work.

What would you say to other girls about engineering?
If you’re interested in engineering, don’t let yourself get talked out of it because I’ve heard a lot of people get talked out of it. There’s no reason to hold back. It’s not lack of talent or ability to do things that holds girls back.

In my school we were encouraged to choose options early in Y8, so you end up choosing to do what your friends are doing and girls tend to stick together. I could have done a course in resistant materials but I didn’t realise how relevant that was at the time and I wanted to stick with my friends.

You can join UTC Leeds in Y10 or Y12. Apply online now
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March 13th 2019 Open Evening

We will be running a series of open events throughout the year for potential Y10 and Y12 applicants. Our open evenings showcase the unique offer that we provide to students with a passion for engineering and science.

At our open evenings you will have the opportunity to meet staff, students and our employer and university partners. As well as experience the state of the art facilities we have to offer and discover more about the courses offered.

To register click here

Year 10 and Year 12 places still available for September 2019, applications are still open.

  To apply click here

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