Nationwide focuses on female talent for apprenticeships

This Women in Engineering Day (23rd June), Nationwide Platforms, the UK’s largest powered access rental company, is encouraging women interested in engineering to apply for its extensive apprenticeship programme.

Providing an example of the potential of the company’s three-year schemes is Abbey-Rose Parkes, who started her Land Based Service Engineer Technician apprenticeship in January this year. 

Abbey-Rose Parkes - Nationwide Platforms Abbey-Rose Parkes, Engineering apprentice at Nationwide Platforms.

The 17-year-old was introduced to engineering concepts at a young age thanks to he grandad and dad, an electrician, who involved her in car maintenance throughout her childhood.

“I got to properly try engineering at a [UK qualification] GCSE taster session at school, which led me to apply for a college course,” explained Parkes. “I did that for three months, but it was mostly motor vehicle based and I felt it wasn’t challenging enough so I looked into plant machinery.

“That’s how I found Nationwide Platforms, and it’s been an amazing experience so far.”

The course takes three years, with Abbey-Rose spending a month at a CITB college, before applying everything she’s learned at the Nationwide Platforms depot in Scunthorpe for nine weeks.

“There’s never a dull moment, and it’s a great way of learning by applying everything to real world situations. It was a big adjustment at first as this is the first time I’ve lived away from home, but the college has been so supportive.”

Full support 

When it comes down to encouraging women in engineering, Parkes credits supportive environments.

Abbey-Rose Parkes - Nationwide Platforms

“I’m the only girl on the course but everyone is so respectful and supportive. At work I have a dedicated mentor who has been so inspirational, but really everyone on the team has been incredibly helpful, always prepared to spend the time with me if I’m struggling. Both the college and Nationwide Platforms also have advice and support phone lines available should I need them.”

Surrounded by support at both work and home, Parkes says she feels prepared for a long career in engineering.

“I’d definitely recommend the scheme to any girls trying to build a career in engineering.”

Charlie Stanley, HR Director at Nationwide Platforms said, “The apprenticeship programmes continue to be an important aspect of the learning and development goals of the business and its commitment to hire both fresh talent and upskill the current workforce. We’re delighted Abbey-Rose has settled into her apprenticeship so well, and feel her experience reflects our ethos that Nationwide Platforms is a place for everyone.

“This year we’re placing a focus on the engineering programmes to address the growing skills gap. With applications accepted until July 2024, we’d encourage any interested candidates to reach out.”

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