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National awards shine a light on apprentice’s advocacy of engineering

An MTC Training apprentice has been named as SME Apprentice of the Year and winner of the top accolade, Best of British, in the 2023 Enginuity Skills Awards.

The two honours, presented to Anisha Roberts at the Park Plaza in London, recognise the 31 year-old apprentice’s inspirational journey into the engineering world, as well as her dedication to the profession.

Inspired by an older colleague, Anisha left her teaching assistant role to pursue an engineering career at the age of 29. She felt that university wasn’t a viable option with two small children, so she started an apprenticeship at Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) based at Culham Science Park in Abingdon. Hi-tech engineering training is provided there by MTC Training, the skills arm of the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre.

Having excelled in her first year, developing foundational knowledge and skills, Anisha is now permanently based at her employer, Williams Jet Tenders, in Wallingford. At WJT, she is gaining a wealth of industry experience and passionately supporting the adoption of innovation to help the small, world-leading luxury jet tender manufacturer operate more efficiently.

Judges for the SME Apprentice of the Year category were impressed by Anisha’s support in helping WJT become more sustainable, saving them money in the process. Gina Darling, HR manager at Williams Jet Tenders, said Anisha was a valuable addition to the WJT team:

“Williams Jet Tenders is immensely proud of Anisha and what she has achieved. She is a true inspiration and ambassador not only to women in STEM, but anyone looking to change their career. Her hard work, passion and determination shines through in everything she does and we see the skills Anisha is learning on the job to be invaluable to the future of our business. She has a bright future with Williams Jet Tenders and we are excited to be part of that journey,” she said.

Anisha’s second win of the evening, Best of British, was awarded for her passion and advocacy of how life-changing an apprenticeship can be. The outcome of this award was decided by the individual winners of the previous nine categories, who were inspired by Anisha’s courage and open-mindedness as she switched her career path, as well as her commitment to challenging traditional engineering stereotypes and championing women in the industry.

Anisha said her double win has assured her that her apprenticeship was the right decision, and made her even more determined to inspire others to get involved in STEM subjects:

“Winning both SME Apprentice of the Year and Best of British is an indescribable feeling. I still can’t quite believe it! I feel so privileged to have been given this opportunity and will forever be grateful to everyone who has been there to help, teach and support me. The impact of winning these awards goes beyond the surface level. It has not only boosted my confidence but given me a real drive to encourage others into STEM. It also signifies that my leap of faith into the engineering world was 100 per cent the best decision,” she said.

David Grailey, managing director of MTC Training, said Anisha’s win should be an inspiration for anyone looking to fulfill their vocation:

He said, “Huge congratulations to Anisha on this fantastic double achievement. All MTC Training colleagues are very proud of Anisha’s accomplishments. What she has achieved in the first two years of her apprenticeship is remarkable and it’s the perfect example of why it is never too late to change direction and pursue the career that you want."

He added, "It's not just Anisha who is a beneficiary of her apprenticeship. Her employers at Williams Jet Tenders know that investing in employees and skills development is key to a successful business, especially when recruiting colleagues is challenging and expensive. At MTC Training, we pre-screen candidates ready to be matched with prospective employers, enabling them to attract, secure and fund the best new talent for their business’s future. It’s clear that Anisha approaches projects with new ideas, a fresh perspective and foundational skills, which make her a huge asset to the team and the business.”

The Enginuity Awards celebrate the people and organisations working hard to create the next generation of engineers. This year’s prestigious ceremony was hosted by Kate Bellingham, an engineer, broadcaster and teacher, who is a passionate advocate for engineering and a champion for STEM opportunities.