First Bus celebrates its female apprentices on International Women in Engineering Day
Pictured above (from L to R): First Scotland apprentices Katie Hannam, Rachel Tully & Erin Hind
In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day on June 23rd (Saturday), First Scotland is paying tribute to our three female apprentices, who are bucking the trend within a traditionally male-dominated discipline at our depots across Scotland.
Teenager Erin Hind is the youngest of the trio at just 17 years of age and she is almost through her first year of an apprenticeship having joined First Bus in July 2017.
Strathaven native Erin, who is based out of First Glasgow’s Blantyre depot, is delighted to be working for such a famous name as First Bus, believes she has a massive opportunity to progress in her career and enjoys working in such a friendly atmosphere within a close-knit engineering team in Blantyre.
Erin said: “I have always had an interest in cars and buses and how they work. My whole family is into cars and the mechanical side of them so I have always wanted to become a mechanic and this was the perfect opportunity for me. I love working for First because it is such a huge company and one that people immediately recognise whenever I mention that I work here.
“The sheer scale of the operation was daunting on first impressions, but everyone in the team was so welcoming and have all helped to guide me through the process. I’m now seen as ‘the little sister’ of the depot. It is a brilliant environment to work in. I love being able to learn on the job because it is so much easier to learn the skills in practice and with tools in my hand than it would be learning from a text book.
“It is great to know that there are various examples of people who have previously joined the company in my position as an apprentice, who have now gone on and progressed all the way up the ladder to director level, so there is plenty of opportunities to progress and I am excited about the future.”
Rachel Tully is 19 years old and is based out of Scotland East’s Larbert depot. Rachel has been with First Scotland East for 18 months and is currently in year two of her apprenticeship. Having been involved with vehicles all of her life, she felt that becoming a mechanical engineer seemed like the most logical next step, but she has been taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the opportunities working for First provides her with.
She said: “I grown up around garages and vehicles with a number of tradesman in my family, so when I looked into the apprenticeship, I just felt it would be an interesting job to get into. It is really good working for First Bus because you get a lot of different opportunities over the course of your training and learning.
“I have had the opportunity to experience visiting other depots in England to see how they operate and how things work there and I was recently at one of our depots in Essex which was really good. I have been in the business for just over 18 months now, so I am starting to get more and more responsibility to do bigger jobs on my own, so hopefully I can continue to progress.
“My daily responsibilities change everyday and that is something I love about the job. No day is the same, but our main focus is keep the buses well maintained and if there is a problem then to get them back on the road for our customers as quickly as possible. I love the way that everybody mucks in when it is needed and pulls together as a team.
“Being a female in a male-dominated discipline such as Engineering doesn’t really bother me as I have been around garages and mechanics all of my life, but there is no problem in the workshop at all and I am treated as a vital part of the Larbert team.”
Last, but certainly not least, is Katie Hannam from Alloa, who is based out of First Scotland East’s Bannockburn depot. At 23-year-old, she is the most experienced of the trio with just under four-years of experience under her belt. Katie is now nearing the end of her apprenticeship and believes that working and learning her trade in practice has been the best thing she has ever done.
She has learned some valuable lessons along her journey and she loves the responsibility of fixing vehicles that not only service our customers every single day, but also carry our frontline employees in the drivers who spend the longest amount of time in the vehicles daily.
Katie added: “Growing up I was always very hands on in tasks and so I always knew from an early age that I wanted to do a manual job. I looked into college to become an electrician and when I saw the apprenticeship at First Bus, I knew I just had to go for it and do my best. The setting was a bit daunting when I first arrived here because most of our depots are huge facilities and especially because I was the only girl at the time.
“The working environment is great and although I am surrounded by a team of men, I am not treated any differently. I love my job and am proud of what I do. My role is an apprentice auto electrician and I love that the daily tasks are so varied. I can do anything from smaller jobs on vehicle inspections right through to larger projects related to vehicle damage or electrical faults.
“When you are maintaining the vehicles our main focus has to be on the customers who will be using the vehicles. So as engineers, we have two main groups of ‘customers’. Firstly, our colleagues in depot operations and the drivers who use the vehicles. For the drivers, this is their office and so we have to ensure there is a great working environment for them especially.
“The second group is obviously the customers who use our services to get from A to B everyday. They are each looking for a well maintained and working bus that is comfortable to travel in, clean and set to the correct temperature relevant to the weather that time of year.
“It is a very challenging, but rewarding job and with the apprenticeship I have been able to learn as I earn so it has been a brilliant move for me and I am now looking forward to completing the journey and my apprenticeship. There are so many more women in a variety of roles across the company and the industry now so it has really given us all a bit of a boost and hopefully over time more and more women are encouraged to become engineers.”
For more information on apprenticeships within First Group, click here: https://uk.firstgroupcareers.com/skillsets/apprentices/
International Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign by the Women’s Engineering society to raise the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world. #INWED18 #RaisingTheBar