Mary Sheriff commenced her apprenticeship at The Engineering College in September 2016 working towards an NVQ L3 Extended Diploma in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, within no time at all Mary had completed 6 of the required 10 units to cover her BTEC Course with distinctions, and was well ahead of schedule and on target to achieve this qualification well before her end date.
Mary’s tutors commented on her progression, “Mary has shown a great work ethic in every aspect of her duties, whether it be in her work at her company A1 Cbiss or on her day release work at The Engineering College. Mary is a hardworking and determined young woman, she is keen to learn new skills and progress to greater heights and from day one Mary demonstrated commitment to her own personal development and progression. Mary is a leading voice in the college learner council, working with staff towards an improved Learning environment for all learners, as an active member of the Council, Mary represents and supports fellow students through their programme, highlighting any challenges that students face whilst in training and working with The Engineering College team to identify solutions”. Mary has also shown rapid progression in her company, an inspirational leader bringing huge benefits by producing and completing work expected of a qualified tradesperson.
Mary says ‘The apprenticeship route appealed to me because I am able to gain valuable experience while working in real-life job situations as opposed to purely studying theory. I now have the confidence to ask questions and communicate effectively. This has been beneficial to my progress in my apprenticeship but also to me as a person outside of my role in company. Using new tools and following complex drawings has allowed me to work on my problem-solving and use my initiative in situations where jobs don’t run as smoothly as we had hoped. Being in this work environment has allowed me to apply my charity work for The Little Princess Trust; donating the majority of my hair and raising money for an amazing cause. I have made significant progress in work as I feel like I belong as part of the engineering team. My status as apprentice is taken seriously and being the only female in the workshop is not an issue. I feel like a valued member of the team and company and my knowledge is often called upon to help other apprentices within A1-Cbiss. This is something that makes me feel proud, knowing I have learnt the information given to me so far very well in order to have this responsibility when senior members of staff aren’t available to pass information on to the apprentices themselves.
The apprenticeship has made me become more independent, confident and drives me to strive to better myself every time I start a shift. I have definitely seen a great amount of progress in my technical skill level, especially with drilling and tapping; something I hadn’t done before I started my apprenticeship. I hope to share my knowledge and experiences with other apprentices. I was invited to do a presentation at my old high school, by the head of sixth form to talk to the sixth form learners about apprenticeships and getting women into industry. It was a rewarding moment to be stood up making a speech where I once sat and listened to other people do a similar thing.
‘I am a valued member of the learner council at college where I feel comfortable enough to be open about my OCD/mental health and also struggles with my sexuality. I wish to help others going through the hard times I went through before starting my apprenticeship. I finished my cognitive behavioural therapy for my OCD in February 2017 after 3 years of hard work. I believe that the success of my apprenticeship has helped me to overcome this.
I have agreed to act as mentor for the new apprentices at my workplace, in order to give them the support through starting their journey in engineering.”
In October 2017, Mary was nominated by her employer and her designated Training Officer at The Engineering College for the National GTA Apprentice of the year award for her dedication and commitment to her company, her programme and her attitude as an ‘ambassador’ for apprenticeships.