Q&A with an apprentice engineer

Last updated: Friday, 30 April 2021

Shannon is one of our two female engineering apprentices. She joined ScotRail back in June 2018 and has become an integral part of the team.

Shannon - Engineering Apprentice
As the applications open for this year's batch of engineering apprentices we wanted to catch up with her to find out how she's getting on.

Women are still under represented on Scotland's railway with just 22% of the workforce being female. Engineering has always been viewed as a man's job but we're slowly changing this. Gender doesn't play a part in how well you succeed at ScotRail, it all comes down to hard work and determination.

What made you want to apply for an engineering apprenticeship?

I applied for the engineering apprenticeship at ScotRail because I didn’t want to have a job that meant I was stuck behind a desk all day and I wanted to learn a trade. I had previously been in Higher Education doing an HNC in Automotive Engineering. I enjoyed that and thought that I could apply my knowledge from that into an apprenticeship.

How have you found the apprenticeship so far?

The apprenticeship has been great. I’ve met a lot of new people from different departments, not just engineering and there is a lot of support within the workplace. I’ve enjoyed learning a new skillset. Every single day you learn something new.

To begin with it was a bit overwhelming thinking of working in this type of environment but once you get settled in it’s completely worth it.

What’s been your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement has actually been being accepted for the apprenticeship as a lot of places said no because I was female. I felt as if I had won the lottery when I got the phone call from ScotRail to ask if I would like the job.

What does a typical day (if there is such a thing!) look like for you?

Every day is different and with the rotation that you follow in the apprenticeship, you learn lots of new things like general maintenance/ fault finding etc.

What advice would you give another woman thinking of applying for an Engineering Apprenticeship with ScotRail?

Just go for it! You don’t need to be scared about putting yourself out there and saying that you want to be an engineer in a mostly male dominated area of work. We can do it just as well as them.

If you're thinking of applying for an engineering apprenticeship, we wish you the very best of luck!
Find out more and apply