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Chiswick school girl achieves engineering apprenticeship at Chiswick Park

Sophie Sweeney, a year 11 student at Chiswick School, beat off male competition to gain a position next September as an electrical engineering apprentice at Chiswick Park. The apprenticeship was created by the Park with Chiswick School in mind as part of the developing partnership between the school and Chiswick Park-Enjoy Work.

Sophie, 16, is delighted to have this opportunity. ‘I applied to do electrical engineering at college but when I heard about the apprenticeship post I was determined to try and achieve it. I would much prefer to learn on the job as well as go to college. That is the model an apprenticeship offers,’ she said.

To be offered the apprenticeship Sophie had to go through a range of tests and interviews. ‘I had to make my own way to the business park and I sat numeracy, literacy and aptitude tests. I was also shown round the Park and given an interview’, explained Sophie. ‘Last Thursday they called me back and offered me the post. I was delighted’.

Asked whether she was prepared for working in such a male dominated sector, she said ‘I do not have a problem working with anyone and I have already worked with a mainly male team on work experience. My mentor will be a female who started the apprenticeship four years ago so I’m sure I will be fine.’

As soon as she heard about the apprenticeship from the school, Sophie showed real initiative in finding out as much as she could about it. She practised the tests, practised interviews with the school’s Connexions worker and made it her own responsibility to give herself the best chance of success.

“Chiswick Park is continually looking to develop and invest in future leaders and our apprenticeship scheme is a great opportunity to engage with a new pool of talent. We have a long standing relationship with Chiswick Community School and see it as a massive boost to our work experience programme that we’re able to offer Chiswick students actual employment opportunities. We’re all very excited to welcome Sophie as our new engineering apprentice, after excelling in the rigorous recruitment process we know she’ll be a great asset to the Enjoy-Work team.” said Gemma McNeilis, Communications Manager at Chiswick Park.

‘At Chiswick, we celebrate academic and vocational success. We are all very proud of Sophie. She is a role model for all students, particularly girls, who need considerable courage and determination to go into this male dominated area of work’, said James Whiting, Deputy Head.

Sophie gave this advice to her fellow students. ‘Push yourself and do not hide away from what you want to do. Follow your own ambitions and make sure they really are your own.’