Philippa first realised her interest in engineering when she worked with her dad on a project to fabricate a new chassis for her Land Rover.
Philippa decided to pursue an apprenticeship at 18 because she wanted to gain more qualifications without the debt of university and she hasn't looked back, enjoying the variety of her role as a CNC machining apprentice and the welcoming atmosphere at KMF.
Name: Philippa Wood
Role: 1st year Engineering Technician apprentice at KMF Precision Engineering
Favourite Food: Sausage & mash
Most played Artist on your playlist: Anything Musical or from the 80s/90s, something I can sing along too
If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? Invisibility
Growing up, my dad always worked in engineering and in his spare time he fabricates sheet metal parts for Land Rover vehicles. A few years ago my sister was struggling at high school and so I went along with her to the open day of a new engineering college and ended up attending the sixth form there.
As part of my course, I had to do an extended project and I picked Land Rover. I wrote an essay on how the vehicles have evolved over time and I also restored the chassis of my land rover. I really enjoyed working on the project, in particular, the fabrication process. After that, I knew I wanted to progress even further with fabrication and machining.
After attending college, I started looking for apprenticeships because I wanted to gain more qualifications without the debt of university. I still have the opportunity to work towards a degree but luckily my employer covers the costs.
I gained some skills in fabrication and welding at college so I really liked the idea of extending my experience with a machining (Engineering Technician) apprenticeship to gain knowledge in that aspect of engineering.
The days are so varied! As a first-year apprentice I spend one day on the shop floor either on the larger Mazak machines, shadowing, or working on our own on the lathes; one day in lessons in the main training centre and the remaining three days following training exercises in the apprentice workshops, for example, operating milling machines and hand fitting. Most days are different.
All of the people that work here and how welcome they've made me feel. Anyone will help me with anything I need. It's such a welcoming environment and I've felt really comfortable from day one.
The training workshop located in the centre of the main shop floor environment is also really good. The training equipment sets you up perfectly and lets you understand all of the processes in a high-level of detail so that when you make the move to the main shop floor, you don't feel out of your depth.
Probably getting used to working with so many men. I'm the first female machining apprentice at KMF, so it was strange at first but everyone is so friendly and I get to spend time with the female sheet metal apprentices at some of the out-of-work activities, so that's nice. For example, we are all taking part in the Big Sleep Out for the Lou Macari centre very soon.
To go for it! If it's something that interests you then keep an open mind and give it a go, I think all of the stereotypes around girls in engineering are simply not true. I am treated exactly the same as the male apprentices.
KMF offer all applicants a week of work experience as part of the application process and I'd definitely recommend coming to try it out first and see what you think.
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