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Women in Engineering

Tamara, Technical Apprentice

Tamara, Technical Apprentice
Tamara, 28, is a Concept Demonstration Engineer in BAE Systems Military Air & Information business, after completing 3 years as a Technical Apprentice. 
Tamara has always been fascinated with how planes, cars and rollercoasters work and considered a degree in engineering before opting to study animal behaviour and welfare. She spent two years working at kennels while supplementing her income by temping as an administrative assistant.
After deciding to revisit a career in engineering, her brother in law, who worked at BAE Systems, asked if she had ever considered a career in aerospace engineering. As a result, Tamara successfully applied for an apprenticeship with BAE Systems.
Tamara joined BAE Systems as a technical apprentice in September 2013 and has had placements in air worthiness, wind tunnel, flight systems testing and Typhoon cockpit group, before her final placement in systems integration. Since completing her apprenticeship, Tamara has secured a permanent position in Concept Demostration as a Concept Demonstration Engineer.
Tamara feels that diversity in the work place is beneficial to both the employee and employer. She said: “Companies like BAE will support you in your role and it benefits them too as you’re a great ambassador. In a large company it helps to not have a workforce who all think the same way. In order to innovate and progress they need all types of people from different backgrounds and mind-sets.
“Whether you are a girl, disabled or like me have Asperger’s and are interested in engineering – I’d say just go for it. There are so many different routes into work and it’s a fantastic sector to work in.”
Having Asperger’s, she says she can sometimes struggle to communicate with other employees. To ensure she is getting the support she needs, BAE Systems provides weekly meetings with an occupational health nurse and an assessment every time she changes placements. She describes BAE Systems as a “brilliant support network”.
A personal success for Tamara was taking part in a three week German exchange where ten apprentices visited an Airbus site in Ingolstadt. She said: “Before the exchange, I had only travelled abroad with family so going with relative strangers was really out of my comfort zone. I found the experience really enjoyable and it made me realise I can deal with different situations and people much better than I had ever released. It also helped my career as I learnt more about the different engineering processes, which I found hugely beneficial.”
Tamara also recently won Innovation Award at the North West Aerospace Alliance New Talent awards. This award recognises an individual who through their innovative thinking and outstanding engineering skills has brought successful change to the business.