Meet young Leeds engineer Eleanor Grace McGuire!

Twenty-one year old Eleanor Grace McGuire is currently doing an engineering apprenticeship at Agfa Graphics, a global supplier to the printing and graphics industry. We asked her about why she decided to go into engineering.

What is your job at Agfa?
I’ve been at Agfa since September 2018. I’m really enjoying my time. I’m an Operator Apprentice, so a Production Operator. I mainly work on the machines. It’s a lot to do with science and lab work, you tend to be very hands on fixing things when there’s issues on site.

Did you always want to be an engineer?
When l left school, I didn’t go to university and I was mainly doing hospitality-based jobs, but I’d always wanted to do something in science or engineering. There wasn’t really an opportunity to do that without going to university as far as I could see. Then I looked on the government’s apprenticeships website and this job came up, which looked right up my street.

Was it hard getting an engineering apprenticeship?
I didn’t have any difficulties getting into an engineering apprenticeship. If you’ve got the will to learn and you want to do something different to working in a shop or an office, Agfa is a large international company so I expected there to be lots of competition when applying for the position as these opportunities are few and far between.

Why is it good being a woman engineer?
There’s a wide misconception that these types of jobs are for men only as it has been historically. You don’t have to be a man to do this at all. It’s not a majorly physical role where you have to partake in strenuous manual labour, it’s much more to do with how your mind works. If you’ve got a good problem-solving brain, you’ll thrive in this sector. If you enjoy science and you enjoy fixing things, you’ll absolutely love engineering.

What do you enjoy in your job?
I’ve really enjoy working in the labs, being trusted with dangerous chemicals and learning how all the different machines work when doing quality checks. It’s really interesting learning how all the different titrations work and all the formulas that go behind it.

Where do you see yourself going?
I want to move up to team leader eventually, but in the short term, once I’ve finished my apprenticeship, I’d like to work here at Agfa. I’m doing an NVQ alongside my work. It’s currently a Level 2 but I’ll be progressing to Level 3. I go to Kirklees College twice a week and come here three times a week. It’s nice to learn and be paid as well.

What did your friends think of you getting this job?
My friends are not surprised that I’m doing something like this. I’m too energetic to be sitting behind a desk all the time. I’ve got the kind of brain that can solve problems quite easily and look at things from different perspectives to most people.

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