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Frida Nzaba - WISE Young Women's Board 2016/ 17

Manufacturing Engineer with Rolls Royce PLC

How I got into engineering

If someone told me 10 years ago I would be working for Rolls Royce, I would have asked them, why would I want to work in a dirty garage fixing expensive cars?

It was in the middle of year 10 that I realised I genuinely loved engineering. I enjoyed learning about the different machining processes such as turning and milling and the fact that I was able to apply some of these techniques to basically manufacture my coursework. I remember engineering was one of the subjects I always looked forward to because it was fun, practical and contained maths and physics that actually made sense to me. Through my passion and hard work in engineering I won Outstanding BTEC Engineering Student in 2013.

In year 11, my engineering teacher advertised the amazing opportunities available in Rolls Royce including apprenticeships, which were rarely encouraged in my school.

Initially, an apprenticeship was not an option for my family because my older sister went to university, so it was in my parents’ interest that I follow the ‘traditional route’ to higher education. However, after further research into future prospects of the apprenticeship scheme, it became the best option because it enables me to complete a degree whilst gaining industrial work experience. I knew that in order to become a charted engineer I needed to have at least four years work experience and undertaking an apprenticeship allows me to build experience. Furthermore, it would put me ahead of my peers and eliminate the need of a student loan. Being an apprentice provided me with the flexibility to: move around the different departments, undertake various technical and practical projects within Rolls Royce and develop a professional network whilst improving on my confidence.

I am currently in the final year of my Mechanical Engineering degree and I have just completed my apprenticeship and now have a full time job as a Manufacturing Engineer Trent 700 Component Owner and a Computer Aided Process Planner (CAPP) in Hucknall, where we manufacture Outlet Guide Vanes (OGV’s). I am heavily involved in transitioning our plant from an old system called TIMES, which is used to edit manufacturing instructions to Siemens Teamcenter.

As a Rolls-Royce and Nottinghamshire County STEM Ambassador, I regularly participate in STEM enrichment activities that involve career discussions as I am very keen in sharing my experiences, including the barriers I overcame to get into engineering and being able to go into schools and motivate young girls and women into studying and exploring engineering, making them believe that they already have what it takes and guiding them through the opportunities available and how they can access them.

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