How one Gloucestershire engineering apprentice won multiple awards on the path to her dream career

Renishaw has been training young talent from across Gloucestershire for the majority of its 50-year history. SoGlos caught up with one of the engineering giant's brightest apprenticeship stars to find out the secret of her success.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
Renishaw apprentice Ruqayyah Girach is making waves in the engineering world as a rising star.

SoGlos chatted earlier this year to Renishaw senior early careers resourcing and programme advisor, Julia Russell, about why apprentices have been an integral part of its 50-year history — and now it's time to hear from one.

Engineering apprentice Ruqayyah Girach is one to watch, already having a well-deserved place on our list of inspirational engineering apprentices in Gloucestershire.

Currently working towards her level three engineering technician apprenticeship, she chats to us about why Renishaw was the right fit to help her achieve her goals.

What motivated you to pursue a career in engineering?

Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed being creative and hands on. Seeing that there was a pathway in which I could make a living out of it really appealed to me as I would be able to do what I love every day.

This field contains mental aspects of problem solving, logical and analytical thinking and practical aspects such as maintenance and assembly — everything that I enjoy and can learn new things from.

Why was Renishaw the right fit for you?

Renishaw was absolutely the right fit as it has a great reputation and is very diverse in the engineering field, ranging from manufacturing to medical to mechanical engineering. This meant that I had the opportunity to find the right department for me since it covers such a broad range of areas.

Having the option to explore and gain skills and experience in each area gave me the chance to really focus on where I wanted my permanent job role to be and find out which one I enjoy the most.

Can you describe your experience from when you first applied, to where you're at now?

If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be 'incredible'. I have been able to learn and gain qualifications in a completely new manner compared to classroom-based education found on a university pathway.

I have learnt countless new skills within the workshop, some being attention to detail, logical and analytical thinking and problem solving, as well as practical skills such as soldering, turning and filing.

In my academics, I have participated in lessons on subjects that are solely to do with engineering, which has been very useful, as the information I've learnt is not just national curriculum-based, but, rather, adjusted to fit my specific role.

Can you think of any standout projects you've worked on that you're really proud of?

I'm currently taking part in a work placement in Woodchester with the Process Improvement Engineering Team, while attending Gloucestershire Engineering Training (GET) classes on a day release basis. There, one of the projects I've been put in charge of has been a challenge in my department for a long time.

I've been tasked with the planning and trialling of what needs to be done in order to combat the recurring issue found in the production units, I'm really proud I get to experience the responsibility of this role while still an apprentice — and I've learned so much about the unit that my department is in charge of and how complex it is.

I've also been the sole creator of an independent project, working on designing and creating a small version of a spinning hourglass desk ornament, with materials provided by GET.

From designing the drawings, coming up with a plan of action, to bringing the project to life, I've thoroughly enjoyed this project from start to finish — but the design aspect was definitely the best part.

What's the best thing about being an apprentice at Renishaw?

The best part is the huge amount of support that I receive. This can range from getting the help that I need in my academic studies to help I need to find the job role I like. Everyone at Renishaw is so friendly and always available to take me under their wing.

Renishaw also provides opportunities for me to further my career through different routes available and I will still gain so much experience throughout that job role while undertaking higher levels of academics — and I'm currently working towards my Technical Certificate in advanced manufacturing and engineering as a technical support technician and an NVQ in advanced manufacturing and engineering at the moment as well, which Renishaw is supporting me through.

What are some of your career goals and aspirations for once your apprenticeship is complete?

I hope to go on to work in the additive manufacturing departments at Renishaw. I'd also love to undertake my degree in engineering at the same time, should the opportunity to do this arise.

How is Renishaw helping you to achieve those goals?

Renishaw has provided so much support for me, pushing me in the direction of where my interests lie. The team sees what I'm excelling in first-hand and then places me in the departments where I can show off my skills.

They are encouraging me to showcase myself in different ways like standing up and giving talks, participating in interviews and taking part in external activities. I am also currently undertaking several six-month placements in different departments on different sites and this has given me the opportunity to truly get a feel of the job, while helping me to find the ideal permanent role.

Finally, are there any highlights you've experienced on your programme so far?

I was so pleased to win some awards at the Gloucestershire Engineering Training Awards in September 2023, including the award for apprenticeship contribution, Apprentices' Apprentice of the Year, Best Dual Skilled Apprentice, and Best Overall Fitter.

I was also highly commended in the awards for Best Electronics Apprentice and Best Electrical Apprentice — all things I will be able to add to my CV for the future.

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