Meet Melissa & Molly - Apprentices

Apprenticeships and careers in engineering are often seen as jobs for men.  At NIE Networks we have seen perceptions slowly beginning to shift with an annual increase in female applicants for our apprenticeship and graduate programmes. In fact this year women have made up over 30% of our new apprentice recruits, our highest female intake ever. We asked a couple of our newest trainees why they chose this career path and how they feel about apprenticeships being typically viewed as a job for men.

Name: Melissa Graham, 18 years old from Ballymena.
Hobbies: Farming, baking and decorating cakes.

From a very young age I had an interest in tools and mechanics from being out on the farm with my dad. I was always willing to help and to get involved in every aspect of the farm, from feeding animals to fixing tractors. When I completed my A Levels I decided that I wanted a ‘hands on job’ so the apprenticeship at NIE Networks was perfect for me. Although when I told people I’d been successful they assumed it was for a job in administration, they were quite surprised when I told them it was actually a cable jointing apprenticeship! I’ve never considered an apprenticeship as a job for a man. I’m really enjoying it so far, in fact to say I’m enjoying it would be an understatement!

Name: Molly Guy, 18 years old from Bangor.
Hobbies: Tennis, hockey and motocross.

In school I studied Maths, Physics and Technology and Design and I’ve always been interested in electrical and electronic engineering. I can even remember buying my own circuit boards and soldering kits when I was really young! When I was in Year 13 I knew I wanted to go straight into industry and that university wasn’t for me, that’s why when the NIE Networks’ apprenticeship came up I had to apply for it.

There are not enough women in apprenticeships which I don’t understand because women have the same capabilities as men. As a women on an apprenticeship scheme I sometimes feel that it’s frowned on by others who believe I should be pursuing a more stereotypical career.  However, the apprenticeship will provide me with practical skills and is a great launch pad for a career in engineering. I can’t wait to see where my career will take me in the future.

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