Brooke Lawford is a welding and fabrication apprentice. She works at Victor Manufacturing in Bradford, studying at KITS Training Centre in Brighouse one day a week (where she was awarded Apprentice of the Year). She has just successfully finished her level 2 EAL Engineering Diploma. WEST made Brooke a bursary of £75 towards travel and equipment, including safety glasses.
Why did you want to become a welder?
When I was little, about 6, I wanted to be a car mechanic. I always prefered that type of thing, compared to girls stuff. Then I did engineering at school, and then I went to a free girls-only taster day at KITS college about welding and it all went from there.
I had a go and I really enjoyed it. I am a more of a practical, hands-on person than a writing person, and I found it enjoyable.
Did anyone inspire you?
My godfather is a fork lift truck engineer and his dad was a car mechanic so I think it might have come from those two. I did work experience in his fork lift engineering company and enjoyed it and it fell into place, I wanted to be an engineer.
What did you think about going into a male-dominated career?
I was nervous at first at college, but when you start it is really fun, really good. We all look out for each other, it’s a nice environment. There are only 2 girls in the class of about 3, but we’re not treated any differently.
What do you enjoy about welding?
I like going TIG welding because you start off doing something and you see it develop and build up into a complete product.
I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship – we weld display cabinets and fridges for national catering companies. I’m the only girl on the shop floor though there are other girls in the offices, but everyone is really nice.
What are your plans?
I just want to carry on at work and then probably go on to learn CAD and make my own designs.
Advice to girls thinking of doing welding?
Just give it your best shot. You don’t know what it will be like until you’ve done it. Step outside your comfort zone!