Tammie took on an apprenticeship at Kimberly-Clark after leaving Dowdales School at 16 years old. With a focus on learning practical, on-the-job skills, an apprenticeship in Cumbria was the perfect choice for Tammie.
“I always knew that I wanted to do an apprenticeship,” she said. “I’ve had a pair of overalls from being really young and I’ve always enjoyed messing with stuff at my dad’s garage and being practical with my hands.
“It was great to be taught the knowledge and practical skills side by side with an apprenticeship, and I studied for my NC [National Certificate] and HNC [Higher National Certificate] at Furness College over the four years.
“For the first year of the apprenticeship, I was in the Skills Centre learning practical skills, and during the second, third and fourth year, I was out on the shop floor working on different assets.
“I spent time on a converting asset and on a paper machine to see which I liked best as they’re very different, and I prefer converting.
“In the second and third year, I shadowed members of staff and was given projects to work on.
“You get much more independence towards the end of the fourth year, and I was left to work on my own which led really well into my job as a technician and helped me a lot. You’re trusted with your work but no one will ever let you struggle and everyone has always got time to help you at Kimberly-Clark.”
Tammie is keen to educate other young people in Cumbria about the opportunities available to them – particularly young women who are considering a career in engineering.
“I knew there were opportunities in the area with the likes of Kimberly-Clark, GSK and BAE Systems, so I’d encourage others to go to careers fairs and events to find out more and do their research,” she said.
“Our apprentice training team often go into schools to tell pupils about the range of opportunities on offer.
“We’re keen to encourage more girls to get into engineering, and being a woman is no barrier to success. To my colleagues, I’m not ‘Tammie the girl’, I’m ‘Tammie the electrician’.
“I hope girls see other women in engineering, like I did at Kimberly-Clark, and feel like they can do it too.”