Joanne Sharples, a Project Control Foundation Scheme apprentice from BAE Systems' Military Air and Information business, was named the Higher Apprentice of the Year at the SEMTA Skills Awards 2016.
Joanne was awared the prize in front of an audience made up of industry leaders and skills supporters in a ceremony in London.
Currently, Joanne is part of the project management team based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire supporting the UK RAF to ensure its Eurofighter Typhoon fleet is ready for action around-the-clock.
Joanne said: “When I was choosing what I wanted to do in my career, I never considered working for an engineering business as a route for me but it was one of my teachers who drove me to look in to it.
“That led me to speak with someone who worked for BAE Systems about the job they did and I was inspired to look in to it and I have never looked back.
“More than half of the apprentices who complete the PCFS do so with a first-class honours degree and experience working on some really interesting programmes.
“I would urge people to look at what the engineering industry can give you as a career, I did and I never looked back.”
As part of her five-year apprenticeship, Joanne has worked in a range of teams across Military Air and Information, including being part of the team behind the first unmanned flight over the UK in 2013.
Joanne has also spent time working in the design and development team for the F-35 programme, the world's biggest defence programme, and a year in the Early Careers team, inspiring the next generation of workers.
When Joanne completesher final placement, which begins in September she will finish the scheme with an honours degree in project management and real work experience on several major projects.
In January, BAE Systems announced plans to recruit more than 680 apprentices in September including a record number on higher and degree level programmes.
BAE Systems schemes offer vocational experience as well as training up to degree and masters level, providing apprentices with the opportunity of full-time employment with a recognised qualification at the end of their training.
For the first time we will also offer a masters level apprenticeship, with 18 employees due to start the Systems Engineering Level 7 apprenticeship at Cranfield University this year.