National Apprenticeship Week blog – Laura Pugh

Sustainability News

Laura Pugh, electrical design apprentice, Sellafield Ltd

Becoming an apprentice was an option that had never crossed my mind. After leaving secondary school I based my sixth form subject choices on the principle that I would be going to university. The sixth form was very focused on encouraging students to complete UCAS applications and even had set time allocated during the school week to work on these.

However in the final few months of sixth form I started to hear about Gen2. My mum knew of previous students who had decided to follow a different educational path from university by applying for an apprenticeship. So I booked myself onto one of the Gen2 open days, whilst there I attended a workshop tour and browsed the different stalls that were available. So I applied for an electrical craft apprenticeship, control systems and project management to keep my options open. When filling out my application form there was an option that said “Would you like to be considered for a design apprenticeship.” At first I wasn’t fully aware of what the role of an electrical designer would be, however after looking further into it I thought it sounded interesting, so I selected that option.

The benefit of being an apprentice is that I am able to obtain a degree, gain valuable on the job experience and earn a wage at the same time. I am learning the practical skills of everyday working life, whilst also gaining the correct qualifications.

Currently I’m on a design job involving a new piece of equipment. I have produced various drawings, carried out trials of the equipment as it is a new piece of kit and helped write some of the design documentation.

I always said that I didn’t want to be in a job where I just sat at a desk every day, as I prefer being hands on. However even though my job is office based it is very rare that I will be at my desk for the full week. Even if this is just to attend meetings or go out and survey areas of site for future design work.

I’m also involved in the apprentice council where I’m joint chair, I’m a STEM ambassador and attend STEM events, and also assist at an engineering club. The aim of this club is to try and influence the students to pursue a career in engineering.

I feel that undertaking a career in engineering is valuable, as I have plenty of options and career paths that I could follow in the future. I would encourage other people to give it a go.