A HARD-WORKING young Rugby woman is busting myths which deter women from entering male-dominated industries on International Women’s Day today (March 8).
Hannah Linden is a first year engineering and manufacturing apprentice with Make UK, currently working at Jaguar Land Rover in Castle Bromwich.
After taking an A-level in Art and Design at college, Hannah decided to make the switch to manufacturing, and applied for an apprenticeship in January 2021.
Hannah says there are many stereotypes in the industry that stop women from joining.
She said: “The bias means many young girls think that they can’t be an engineer and that men are the only ones who can. It’s time we change that!”
She said she had never been told by her school and college teachers that she could go into engineering.
“I’ve always been practical and hands-on,” she said, “so I started an A-level in Art and Design, but I was pushed to apply for university even though I was never really interested.
“I’ve always enjoyed working on practical projects with my dad around the house, and so he helped me apply for the Make UK apprenticeship programme.”
Four months later, she found out she had I got the job, and started her course last September.
“Since then, I’ve been getting stuck in, working on lots of different projects and being trained in various engineering disciplines.
“I’ve worked on projects involving programmable logic controllers, electrical components, welding, bench and lean manufacturing. There’s so much to take in but I love it.
“Having a design background, I really enjoy using computer aided design software to map out certain components. It’s a natural fit for me.
“So far, we’ve covered filing, drilling and sawing. I’m already looking forward to the weeks ahead – we will be focusing on robotics, turning, fluid power and mechanical maintenance. In September, I will finish the course for the year and will then move onto my placement at JLR. I can’t wait!
“For me, working with my hands is second nature — my dad recently asked me to fix the electrics upstairs in our house because he couldn’t do it himself. I removed all the plug sockets, cleaned them and refitted with switches and sockets to modernise them. Doing an apprenticeship wasn’t a big leap for me at all.
“For any young girl thinking about manufacturing or engineering apprenticeships, I say just do it. Don’t be scared and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
“I’ve definitely proved myself since starting and it’s really changed my mindset towards the industry — it really is welcoming, and you can learn so much.”
In the UK, women make up just 29 per cent of the manufacturing workforce, eight per cent of engineering apprentices, and 18 per cent of representation on company boards.
Birmingham-based manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships provider Make UK is inviting young women to apply for roles in manufacturing and engineering, with over 300 apprenticeship vacancies starting this September.
Visit https://makeuk.justapply.co.uk for more information.