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Danielle flynn

Standards and Controls Degree Apprentice, Jaguar Land Rover 

 

And - Knowsley's Apprentice of the Year 2018

Being the only female degree apprentice in my year, I felt there was a need to encourage more females to experience STEM fields. 

What do you do?

On an apprenticeship, the common pattern is to move around areas on a rotation before being placed in your final area. For my final placement, I work in the Standards and Controls department. The main aim of this department is to maintain one standard across all the plants all over the world so that, in theory, any individual can go and work in any of other plants without any change in machinery/software/working environment. The team look into new technologies that can be introduced to save time and cost on the projects. Additionally, we sign off all cells before they are able to go into production. We carry out a 20-point audit check to see if the area is safe and ok to continue to full ramp production.

Why did you choose this field?

"[The change] should start from day one."

I never had my heart set on Engineering. I just really enjoyed Maths and Sciences in school. I wanted to find a career that combined them both and this is when I came across Engineering. It was still a risk for me as I had never tried any work experience in the field and I didn't know too much in detail about it.

 

Engineering as a career is so broad and it is crazy how little I knew. I never knew of any girls - role models - who had big careers in science in general so it was never in my head (as silly as it sounds!) That's why I am so passionate about making a change for women today.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I have received amazing support from my team and was the only person on my programme to be chosen for the highly competitive ‘Advanced Manufacturing Engineering’ route. I have inspiring mentors who supported me in becoming the first female STEM ambassador for Jaguar Land Rover. Since then, I have represented women in engineering and JLR at many schools all across Merseyside, including the Big Bang events, local school outreach programs and presentations to headteachers where the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I have featured in internal films, giving advice to students and more recently, I had the honour of giving a speech to the women of Dagenham and Halewood who walked out fighting for equal pay. This was a truly inspirational experience and I was thrilled to have the opportunity.

 

After the launch of the new Evoque last month, I was on Granada Reports and BBC Radio Merseyside speaking about JLR, women in engineering and apprenticeships. Additionally, I have recorded apprenticeship adverts on Capital FM and a live debate on University vs Apprenticeship, with my opponent wishing she had chosen the apprenticeship route in the end. I work with Knowsley Council often and was honoured to be the guest speaker for their ‘Women in Business’ networking event and their ‘Apprenticeships’ breakfast networking session, which involved a presentation and Q&A to c.100 businesses. The overwhelmingly positive feedback has made me believe I am inspiring not only younger children into STEM subjects but businesses into apprenticeships. Many businesses have had a stereotypical (low-paid, less educated, not beneficial to the business) approach to start apprenticeships and contacted me with how they are now trying to set one up.

 

Being involved in the degree apprenticeship at JLR has allowed me to work with professionals daily and lead presentations, improving my confidence massively. Attending University alongside work has thrown me straight into the working world and prepared me extremely well for life after the apprenticeship. The discipline of the full time job from such a young age has provided me with a competitive advantage. 

Why do you love working in STEM?

"Empowerment through education is the ultimate route out of social immobility."

Engineering opens so many pathways for life. It is important for me to inform children how the role is not only the ‘mechanic boy’ stereotype they may imagine. To see disinterested faces change to keen willing ones during presentations is truly satisfying.

 

Coming from a working class background, I firmly believe that empowerment through education is the ultimate route out of social immobility. Speaking to local students who were previously unaware of non-university routes into higher education has been extremely rewarding as many of them were keen to pursue an apprenticeship over no further education. All Saints School recently said I was “so inspirational” and have asked me to go back to inspire more young individuals. All this has been topped off by being recognised as Liverpool’s Apprentice of the Year and Knowsley’s Apprentice of the Year 2018. I am grateful for this recognition and it has definitely motivated me further to excel in my career.

Best advice for the next generation

My confidence and self belief only came a couple of years ago and I wish it had came so much earlier! Confidence is the key to success. Even if you fail – keep trying. Be resilient, because every failure or rejection is an opportunity to learn.Take opportunities with both hands and know that if you put in the work, there are no limits and you will achieve your goal!

Fun fact

It was either Engineering or a career in dancing!