Alumni Caragh sets sights on chartered engineer career

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Former UTC Swindon student Caragh Nugent is currently studying for a Mechanical Engineering degree with Manufacturing at Babcock International in Bristol, and says she has the UTC to thank for boosting her confidence in applying for the apprenticeship.

During her six-year degree apprenticeship Caragh will complete seven placements in different departments, including design, supply chain, in service experience and production. She spends three days in the workplace training on machinery and the other two days at a college learning the theory.

“Babcock is one of the only major companies to have an apprentice training centre, designed specifically for us to be trained in during our first year to get first-hand practical equipment with a trainer who is dedicated to us,” she explained.

“I was particularly drawn to the company due to the variety of opportunities that are available to me, during and after my apprenticeship. One of these is the potential to go to other sites in the UK and abroad. From next year I will be spending one day a week at UWE studying for my degree while I am able to move around the business gaining a better understanding of what everyone does and how it all comes together.

“Another thing I really like about Babcock is how everyone has respect for everyone, despite the differences in age and gender, everyone can go to anyone for a chat or to ask questions and if they don’t know the answer, they’ll find someone who can.”

After her training is completed, Caragh hopes to become a chartered engineer, something which informed her original decision to study at UTC Swindon as it specialised in engineering.

She says her experiences at the UCT helped getting the next step. “The school itself really helped me as I struggled with confidence and the staff taught me ways of developing this, giving me more belief in myself to apply for the apprenticeship and get through their assessment centres,” she said.

“A few of the skills I picked up from my two years at UTC were time management, self-confidence, resilience and organisation – skills which are all key when going into the world of work, especially as an apprentice where you have to balance work with education.”

Caragh particularly enjoyed the personal feel of the UTC. “Due to the smaller class sizes, lessons can be more focused on individual needs as well as the whole class. The environment is very positive which helped me a lot, coming in from a secondary which wasn’t like that.

“I particularly enjoyed the electronics units and also the pipeline project, an enrichment activity that engages pupils with companies like a form of work experience; for me, this was with BMW.

“UTC prepared me for work through the use of the core ROCK values and making college as much like a workplace as possible. Another thing that helped me was the support from the teaching staff giving real life scenarios of where what we were learning could be used.

“If I was to speak to someone who was considering going to a UTC I would say go for it, it’s hard work but to develop the skills you’ve got to be committed to yourself and your learning and then you’ll be able to achieve anything.”



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