What it's like to be a Mechanical Maintenance Engineer | EEF

What it's like to be a Mechanical Maintenance Engineer

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A Q&A with Elizabeth Darrall


How did you get into manufacturing?

I worked at a supermarket for 10 years and knew I was ready for a change. I’d always enjoyed hands-on practical work, and I didn’t want to sit in an office.

I applied for and got into a four-year, advanced engineering apprenticeship at Severn Trent Water where I got my Btec Level 3 and NVQ Level 3. I have one year left and by then I’ll have a full degree in mechanical engineering.

I chose an apprenticeship in manufacturing because it really seemed like a field that I could make a career in.


What does your job entail?

Mechanical maintenance on sewage plants and equipment, like stripping down pumps and motors and rebuilding them.


Why do you enjoy working in manufacturing?

Every day is different and interesting. And everybody I work with has a light hearted, easy-to-get-along-with attitude.

In terms of apprenticeships, I would 100% recommend them as it’s an enjoyable way to learn. And the job prospects are there after you finish.  


What challenges have you overcome in your career?

When I started my apprenticeship after being out of school for a decade, it was a bit of a shock to the system to get back into the routine of learning.


What advice would you have for women thinking of a career in manufacturing?

Never say “I can’t.” Give it a try; you might be surprised.


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