AMRC Training Centre second-year manufacturing engineering degree apprentice Lequesha Gonsalves says she used to be a ‘troublemaker’ in secondary school but found her calling in engineering.
“My secondary school design and technology teacher had a lot of faith in me. He always made sure to remind me that I was capable of great things, even at a time when I never would have considered engineering.”
Originally looking to join the Royal Air Force or British Aerospace Engineering, Lequesha said she stumbled onto her apprenticeship by accident, after seeing Rolls-Royce come up during her application.
“It was the first time I realised they didn’t just work on cars. I was curious what other misconceptions I had,” she said.
When considering the university pathway, Lequesha’s opinion was that an apprenticeship was the better choice for her.
“I learn so much of value at work, ranging from how to conduct myself professionally, to how to program robots using drone technology. I even created a datasheet, using macros I learned in two days, to document blade parts and where they were in their process. This made sure that time was not wasted unnecessarily locating blades, and meant they were processed accordingly, to avoid losses.”
Though happy with her choice, Lequesha does find that managing your time can be a challenge during an apprenticeship. She said: “You can’t spend hours binge watching Netflix. You have a full-time job alongside your studies, whereas your peers might only be at university and have much more free time. You can end up missing out on events.”
But, she says it is worth it.
“An apprenticeship gives you the skills and understanding on how to master a work-life balance,” she said. ” It also teaches you to communicate with a variety of people from different backgrounds, ages, and genders. That’s something you can only learn on the job, and it helps you overcome fears like presenting to large crowds.”
For Lequesha, one of the big benefits of an apprenticeship is who you are surrounded by.
“It’s easier to stay focused and motivated on your goals because you’re constantly surrounded by influential older people who encourage you to be the best version of yourself,” she said. “You might grow up a bit earlier than other peers, but you’re ready for the real world.”