In the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Ministry of Defence is busting the myths about apprenticeships and The 5% Club are delighted to announce that they continue to do so as one of our newest members.
Supplying sensitive, specialist services to the MoD and wider government, DSTL also provides a leading science and technology programme that acts as a trusted interface between the MoD, private sector and academia to provide support to military operations by the UK and her allies.
As part of their support, DSTL champion and develop science and technology skills across the MoD, including through apprentices.
What is so key about the programmes provided is their emphasis on breaking the mold, innovating through diversity in their people as well as their projects. Their apprentices epitomize this, debunking myths from who can undertake an apprenticeship to questions of career progression.
An example can be found in 36 year-old DSTL engineering apprentice Jamie Moore, who previously worked in construction but felt that he wasn’t getting the most out of his ability. He wanted to do something much more challenging and fulfilling.
Retraining as a mechanical engineer, he believes ‘you are never too old to learn’, saying:
“I have always had an interest in how things work and the science behind how things work and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is at the forefront of up to date training and education in this field amongst many others.
I have been heavily involved in some interesting projects, from the design and planning and manufacture right through to completion and handover.”
Now a proud civil servant, he did not let his age stop him from being ambitious and instead thrives in an environment where he can continue to learn in the workplace.
Similarly, being a woman never stopped his fellow apprentice, Bethan Warner, from achieving her own dream of joining the programme as an engineer.
For Bethan, the combination of practical hands-on work and classroom-based theory was perfect, she knew university was not the course for her especially having seen her own family find success after apprenticing.
Actively disabusing the assumption that STEM subjects and programmes like her own are not for girls, Bethan now attends many STEM events in schools and careers fairs. She says, “The majority of children visiting our engineering stalls are boys but I will continue to inspire the younger generation to think about apprenticeships, while confirming that women can do engineering.
On a daily basis, I haven’t had any problems with being a woman in the engineering industry. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown in confidence since having the responsibility of an apprenticeship or maybe it’s because the people I work with realise that I’m no different to my male colleagues.
Man or woman, apprenticeships are the best start for rewarding careers – I really believe they are the way to go.”
The fact that towards the end of her apprenticeship she was being trained for a role involving organising jobs from all across the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and managing the design and making of varied parts, meant she was ready to kickstart her career from the outset of her full-time position.
She felt ready. “Coming from a hands on apprenticeship to my current role allows me to understand the true engineering behind different products, thus allowing me to give much more technical guidance to my customers and those manufacturing the parts.”
To find out more about the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/defence-science-and-technology-laboratory