Automotive supplier ZF-TRW is breaking the glass ceiling with the appointment of its first female engineer.
Kelsey Richardson, 22, has joined the Peterlee firm after the company started working with Sunderland College in developing the next generation of talent.
You don’t see that many females in engineering and it’s somewhere that I believe we should be.Kelsey Richardson
The company, which supplies automotive safety electronics to companies around the world, has been working with Sunderland College since November.
“You don’t see that many females in engineering and it’s somewhere that I believe we should be,” said Kelsey.
“Hands-on has always been a better way of learning for me, so an apprenticeship was always going to be right.
“Coupled with a love of engineering, that I gained thanks to my dad’s love of cars – we’d take them apart and rebuild them together when I was young – this really was the best option for me.
“At ZF-TRW, you get to work alongside experienced engineers. It’s something that you can’t learn from a book.
“I’d say to anyone, including females interested in this career path to go for it. I wish I had done it earlier.”
Kelsey, from Peterlee, is currently completing an NVQ Level 3 in engineering, which sees her time split between work and college. Once she qualifies, she will go on to study an HNC in manufacturing and engineering as part of her apprenticeship.
Plant manager Robin Finley said: “We are delighted with Kelsey’s contribution to the company, and it has been great to work with Sunderland College to give her rounded training that has allowed her to hit the ground running since she joined us.
“Engineering is still a male-dominated sector, so we have always seen a low number of applications coming from females.
“However, with an increased focus from schools and colleges on STEM subjects and the engineering career pathway, I hope that Kelsey will be the first of many female engineers to join us.”
The college recently opened a specialist facility in the city centre, its flagship City Campus, which includes an engineering training space that is training up scores of engineers.
To find out more about apprenticeships with Sunderland College, go to www.sunderlandapprenticeships.co.uk or for more information about the college visit www.sunderlandcollege.ac.uk.