Charlotte, Engineering Apprentice

Student using tool in Engineering workshop

Charlotte Guest, Age 21, Product Change Engineer for Caterpillar Marine

"Since starting my Apprenticeship, the opportunities I have been given and what I can get are unbelievable."

Apprentice working at her computerI had originally wanted to join the Navy, but I decided I didn’t want to be away from home. When looking at what to do next, my family really encouraged me to look at Apprenticeships as a route rather than go to university.

I started my journey at Caterpillar Marine on a Level 2 Marine Engineering Apprenticeship before spending two years on a Level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship. Now I have moved on to a Degree Apprenticeship following the Mechanical Design pathway. I am going to get a Degree and leave with no debt and a lot of work experience!

Since starting my Apprenticeship, the opportunities I have been given and what I can get are unbelievable. I have had to make sure I remain focused with a clear plan to help me manage not only my work, but my college work too.

Apprentice standing with engineering machinery I think the best part about my Apprenticeship is that I have been able to move around different departments. I started off in the stores which allowed me to get hands-on with the parts, seeing how they fit together before delivering them to the build line.The next phase saw me working on the build line itself. This was great experience for building up my team working and communication skills before I moved in to testing. Testing saw me really develop my problem solving skills, especially when an engine fails. I had to be able to work with the team to find solutions to be able to fix the issue.

The final phase saw me on the finishing line. It was great to be able to see the finished product come together. You can look at it and say I am proud of that product. 

Moving around the company has really allowed me to get a good understanding on how everything works. Now I am on my Degree I am getting involved in lots of new tasks and I’m really enjoying the variety.

Being an apprentice has not only helped my Engineering understanding, but it’s also helped my interpersonal skills too. I am pushed outside my comfort zone and even today, I had to host my first Monday meeting. My confidence has grown too. I never thought I would be talking in front of 200 students which I did last week at a local school!

I’d definitely recommend Apprenticeships, I’d especially like to see more women in Engineering. If you’re thinking about doing one, look around and think about the subjects that you’re interested in and what industries those subjects are in. Work hard and stay focused. You will never be alone when you’re doing an Apprenticeship. Ask lots of questions. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.