Name: Hayley Barnden
What are you studying/what did you study?
I’m a third year Engineering Apprentice for the Ministry of Defence, which means I’m studying for my qualifications at college as well as working to gain experience. Over the three years I’ll gain five qualifications, in a mixture of academic and vocational courses.
My highest qualification will be a HNC in Mechatronic Engineering (which is a mix of mechanical and electronics engineering) along with an NVQ Level 3 in Engineering Technical Support.
Where are you studying/where did you study?
To gain my academic qualifications I attend City of Bristol College; all the courses are accredited by the University of Plymouth. In years 2 and 3 college is either day release or block release, which means I spend most of my time work at the Ministry of Defence in Bristol. However depending on what department I’m working in I can work from almost anywhere in the UK. Currently I’m posted to Barrow-in-Furness working with the new Submarines being built.
How are you involved with Stonewall?
I attended the Youth Talent Programme 2012
What got you interested in Engineering?
I’ve always been good at Maths and Science but I wanted to do something more practical than those subjects generally offer on their own. I enjoy getting to take things apart and see how they work and getting to help design and build new things.
Who are your role models?
I have lots of role models for different elements of my life, in regards to Engineering:
- Nikola Tesla – Electrical/Mechanical Engineer, most famous for the work on AC current.
- Isambard Kingdom Brunel – Being from the Southwest and an Engineer, I have to put Brunel as one of my role models; I remember learning about him as a child and being able to see the structures that he designed and built is probably one of the things that first inspired me about engineering.
Has your sexual orientation had any impact on you as a scientist?
I’m generally out to everyone I work with (other apprentices, my line management and my placement team) and it’s never been a problem. When I started the apprenticeship I was concerned that there would be a problem, as engineering is generally a male dominated environment and a lot of the people I work with are a lot older than me, and I had this idea in my head of how they would react. I was very happy to be wrong.
What advice would you give to people who are considering going into engineering?Do your research! There are so many different branches of engineering and ways to get into engineering that it’s worth looking around to be sure you’re applying for the right course. I’d also definitely recommend that people consider apprenticeships as a viable option, advanced and higher apprenticeships can give you a HNC or Foundation degree, so in terms of academics we’re not that far behind university students without having to pay for it! We also start gaining work experience straight away; getting paid to do so and there’s usually a job there for you at the end.
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