A 16 year old female student from Southampton has been awarded a prestigious six-year engineering apprenticeship with Associated British Ports (ABP), having been selected ahead of hundreds of male candidates.
Katie Hopper, who attends Salisbury’s University Technical College (UTC), will undertake a higher level degree apprenticeship with ABP. She was the only female candidate to have applied for the role.
“It was all men at the interviews and they were all about ten years older than me,” said Katie, who is studying a range of STEM subjects including engineering, electronics and computer science at the UTC.
Principal of the South Wiltshire UTC Joe Mulligan said it was unheard of for a 16 year old to be offered a higher level degree apprenticeship. “We are all very proud of what Katie has achieved. She has worked tremendously hard and thoroughly deserves this amazing opportunity,” he said.
According to the Women’s Engineering Society the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe, at less than 10%. Katie hopes she will be one of many young women to help change the face of the sector. “I am ecstatic of getting this far –especially for my age, it is a dream,” she said. “I also want to slowly and steadily promote women in engineering.”
Katie has already completed some work experience at ABP, which has a network of 21 ports in the UK. “During my work experience I met the apprentices, saw project management, and worked with electrical, mechanical and facility management teams. I got to drive cranes, go on a pilot launch trip and meet people I should be working with,” Katie explained.
During her six-year apprenticeship at ABP Katie will undertake her HNC, HND and degree.