Inside an engineering apprenticeship: Ava Hawkins

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Technical Certificate Awards, EEF Apprentices & Skills Awards

Why did you become an apprentice?

My brother was an engineer in the army, so I wanted to do what he did. But then it got to the point where I didn’t want to do the physical side of the army, but still wanted to work in engineering because it’s such a practical business.

Now I’m doing a manufacturing apprenticeship at Arconic, while working on my Btec level 3, HNC and NVQ. While I’m at my job, I work with the machine operators to design and create pieces on the CNC machine for testing.

See Ava talk about her experience as an apprentice in this video:


What’s your favourite thing about training at the EEF Technology Training Centre and Technology Hub?

Everybody was easy to get along with. It’s not like school with teachers and students; they treat you more like peers and an equal. If you needed help someone was always there to guide you back to where you needed to be, whether it was Btec or practicals.

An apprenticeship is probably better than going to university, because there you don’t really get the practical side

What was it like winning an award at the EEF Apprentices & Skills graduation and awards ceremony recently?

My dad said I have a big head now! I was really surprised when they called my name, because I knew the other people I was up against from when I was in class with them so I knew how good they were and how hard they worked to get to the same place as me. After I had gotten it I was extremely happy, it was a proud moment of how far I had come to get what I did during my course and how all the hard work had paid off in the end.


Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?

Yes – I was talking to a girl at Arconic who was doing a work experience in the company and she was thinking she might just go straight into a job, but I told her to do an apprenticeship in the field. With an apprenticeship you can get an education and go further in the company. 

An apprenticeship is probably better than going to university, because there you don’t really get the practical side, almost all of it is class room based. With an apprenticeship you get the experience while meeting lots more people. During this you are learning, and earning your own money. You’re more likely to get a job at that place you’ve worked at during your apprenticeship as well, because they’ve spent three or four years training you to the way you need to work and they aren’t going to just throw that all away. 

“Ava has always shown a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication for her studies, which has led to her achieving the highest possible result on her BTEC. She produced an exceptional level of high quality work with excellent levels of detail for her technical certificate, her project was outstanding and a joy to mark.”

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