Becky Munro won BTEC Apprentice of the year 16-18 in 2017. We checked in with her recently so see what she has been doing since winning this prestigious award in the summer of 2017...
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship rather than university?
I chose a BTEC Level 3 Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering because of the huge impact engineering has on society, as well as the satisfaction of seeing tangible results from my hard work. An engineering apprenticeship meant I could work alongside a range of skilled and experienced people, which was an invaluable experience to develop work-based knowledge, whilst still getting to study once a week at college.
I chose an apprenticeship rather than going to university because I knew I could come out with the same qualifications as those at university, but I would also have the benefit of years of practical experience too. Because I was earning throughout my apprenticeship, I managed to save money, and I didn't end up with any student debt that needed to be paid off.
What was it like winning the BTEC award last year and has it had any impact on you in the last 12 months?
Winning the BTEC Apprentice student of the Year 16-18 award last year was an amazing achievement. I feel like it really highlights how far I have come in my career and it's inspired me to continue progressing. The award had been a fantastic recognition of hard work, but it was also great to showcase my talent. It allowed other people to see how far my BTEC qualification took me.
What's your view of apprenticeships and the opportunities they provide you?
I believe that some people have a misconception of apprenticeships about them being a blocker for your career progression. This is completely not true, and apprenticeships are becoming such a highly-recommended route into the industry because of the first-hand experience you get. They make you a very skilled individual and engineers are very much in demand at present! I have progressed very quickly within my career - I am now working towards my degree in civil engineering and I am a registered Technician member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
My company, Mott MacDonald, and my college have been amazing, and if you are committed to your progression then they will take you to the top. Since working as an apprentice I have won five nationally-recognised awards, including my BTEC Award, across the UK for Apprentice of the Year. Taking an apprenticeship has been a brilliant way to showcase my talent and show the industry what I'm made of!
How did you find juggling work and study? And did you feel supported and valued by your team?
Throughout my apprenticeship I did four days a week in the workplace, assisting with real, fee-earning projects and producing engineering solutions. I also attended college one day a week, allowing me to progress with my qualifications. My work was extremely supportive of my college workload and ensured I had everything I needed. Working with a team of engineers four days a week proved very helpful for any advice and guidance I needed for any of my college work. I think the combination of work and study allowed me to become a very skilled, well-respected engineer within the team.
How do you think you can progress in the engineering sector?
I believe that motivation and drive are the biggest factors which will lead to your success. The satisfaction of seeing tangible results from my hard work plays a part in motivation, however I believe if you really enjoy your job and your career, then enthusiasm and commitment to your role comes naturally. Civil Engineering offers a diverse and rewarding career and you will always be taking on new and exciting challenges, some of which can even be abroad should you want to take up the opportunity.
What are you next steps?
My next goal is to gain my Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering, before I can then progress onto the Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship. I can then aim to sit my Incorporated Engineer Review with the Institution of Civil Engineers. Long term, I aspire to have a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering and be a Charted Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers.
What has you experience at Mott MacDonald been like?
I would recommend an apprenticeship to anybody! The opportunities and experience I have received at Mott MacDonald has been amazing. Since working in the engineering sector at Mott MacDonald I have worked on high profile, multi-disciplinary projects including Northern Power House Rail, HS2 and other design projects. I am mainly based in the office undertaking track alignment design work, however there is always the opportunity to get out and about on site as well.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a career in the Engineering industry?
My advice for anyone wanting to enter the engineering industry would be to take any opportunities that you can and put your all into it. The industry is very rewarding and exciting, whilst allowing you to continuously progress and develop. Research the routes into the industry as there are many ways to enter, but also the variety of job roles and types which are available as the diversity within the industry is vast.