20th June 2018
Despite not having a clear path into apprenticeships and the engineering industry, after seeing what her older brother was doing at HETA, Hollie Edwards was determined that this was the right route for her too.
“Due to being a high achiever at school, they pushed me towards going to university,” says Hollie. “However, I knew this would not be right for me. I have always been close to my brother and when I saw what he was doing as an engineering apprentice, it sparked an interest in me too.
“I am really glad I challenged the advice I was getting. I knew it was my career and my future that was at stake. I am now getting the practical training that will set me up on the right pathway to great opportunities in an area I enjoy and can build an amazing career in.”
Before enrolling at HETA in September 2017, Hollie had already secured a placement as an electrical and instrumentation apprentice at Total Lindsey Oil Refinery. Despite this achievement, Hollie has encountered some dismissive comments based on her gender.
“I did find some people saying that I got my placement because I am female,” exclaims Hollie. “However, I know other girls who applied and did not get accepted. I am here on my own merit and no one at HETA has ever made me feel otherwise.
“Everyone at HETA thinks it is great that more women are coming into the profession and I have felt fully supported. Externally, it can be quite different and there are people who don’t understand why I would want to do a man’s job. However, for me, that traditional view of gender roles should not be there any more.
“Our generation has been brought up to be more accepting. So, it does annoy me when you come across that kind of prejudice but I find I thrive on it too. I like to push the boundaries, and see myself taking an active role in making engineering a more accepted and widespread career option for women.”
Once she has completed her apprenticeship, Hollie has ambitions to develop into a senior management position. With an identified skills gap in the engineering sector, that is widening annually, Hollie knows she is establishing a sustainable career and would urge other women to consider doing the same.
“If you’re thinking about engineering – just go for it,” concludes Hollie. “Don’t let anyone else’s preconceptions put you off. I’ve always wanted a career that is hands-on, diverse and challenges me to push my limits every day. Engineering does all this and more.”