At KMF Group we are celebrating International Women's Day to #EmbraceEquity. Equity is about creating an inclusive world where "everyone has a shoe that fits." As reported in March 2022 by Engineering UK, women make up 16.5% of all engineers compared to men in the industry. Therefore, it is essential that we treat everyone inclusively.
We spoke to our apprentice Kayleigh Simm and ex apprentice's Chloe Quaile and Jess Mitchell about their journey so far and how KMF have treated them with equity.
Joining the KMF apprenticeship programme in 2015, Chloe was one of our first female apprentices. Engineering runs in her family, she previously tried out Electrical Engineering before deciding Mechanical Engineering was for her. This passion was driven by her love of Maths and English which she wanted to bring into real life scenarios. Chloe completed a few weeks work experience at KMF to ensure that we were the right fit and accepted her apprenticeship offer in 2015.
Chloe has progressed rapidly through KMF, after completing her Level 3 Fabrication Apprenticeship, she then went onto complete a BEng Mechanical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship, achieving a 1st class honours degree. Chloe has since worked as a CNC Operator, Junior Buyer and is now part of the Unit 4 Weld team who work with our customer Mettler. This is her favourite job thus far as she loves to work practically.
Throughout her career at KMF Chloe said "Men haven't treated me any differently, everyone is always willing to help me where needed. I don't feel like my job is gender specific, anyone can do it if you put your mind to it!"
Jess joined the KMF Apprenticeship programme in 2016. Her passion for engineering began when she chose to take engineering as a year 9 option, this led her to be a part of KMF's Young Engineer of the Year in 2015's 3D Design Project which further fuelled her interest.
Since completing her 4-year apprenticeship, Jess has progressed through KMF. She began as a Press Brake Operator, then progressed onto Senior Team Member within the department and is now also the Bend Technician (and Senior Team Member). Her new position has given her more authority and has enabled her to learn a lot of new skills and how to use a new software programme whilst supporting all the press brake operatives within the team.
Jess was the second female apprentice to join the KMF apprenticeship programme, Jess said "During my time as an apprentice and now on the factory floor I have always felt I have been treated and supported the same as men. It is not about gender but about doing your job to the best of your ability."
Kayleigh joined the apprenticeship programme at KMF in 2022 and has now been with us for over 6 months. We previously spoke to Kayleigh in October 2022 to find out about her journey before KMF. Click here to read more.
Over the last 6 months, Kayleigh has really enjoyed the CAD and CNC aspects of the apprenticeship as she has prior knowledge of this already and she also loves designing. Kayleigh said, "I feel like I have developed as a person and become more confident when talking to people and when working on the shop floor. I feel very included and part of the KMF family. I am treated no differently to my male classmates, I am involved in all the inside jokes and do not feel inferior."