MA serves up ACE nomination

Charlie Smith

MA serves up ACE nomination

A Modern Apprentice (MA) who was labelled as an under-achiever at school has been nominated for a top industry award.

Charlie Smith (18) from Fife, an Overhead Line Equipment MA with Glasgow based design and consultancy firm Atkins, has been nominated in the Apprentice of the Year category at the ACE Engineering and Consultancy Awards.

Charlie, who designs overhead wiring systems for the railway network using computer aided design (CAD), studies for an NC Mechanical Engineering one day a week at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus, is delighted to have confounded the doubters who wrote off her dreams of becoming an engineer when she failed her maths at school.

She said:

“I was quite surprised to be noticed so early in my career as I have only been an MA for six or seven months, so to be nominated is quite exciting.“I left school at the end of my fifth year and was told to forget about a career in engineering as I had failed my maths. But I am flourishing in the workplace and have already passed the stages I failed at school.

“I have also been going out to schools through the Prince’s Trust to encourage young women to think about engineering as a career through the Modern Apprenticeship programme and I really enjoy doing that.

“In my opinion MAs are the way forward and I would definitely recommend them to anyone. The work experience you gain while going to college to gain your qualification is invaluable. The support you receive through your work and in further education is in many ways better than going straight to university for a qualification as you are out on your own. There is also a very good chance that you will land a job when you complete your MA and you are always earning while you are learning.

“I am pleased with what I have achieved so far and Atkins – who have been brilliant with me – are already saying they want to sponsor me through to university and a degree after I finish my HND at Forth Valley College.”

Graham Martin, FVC Business Development Partner, said:

“Charlie has been a good trainee on the programme. She has grown a lot in confidence since she started and is taking on more and more responsibility at her work. She has been working hard to get through her subjects at college, particularly maths and it is good to see her succeeding in a subject that she had struggled with before.”

A special ACE awards ceremony will be held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London in May.

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