Jess’s Story

Jess Hawksworth lives in Sheffield and is an apprentice mechanical engineer with Tata Steel.  She was awarded a £50 bursary from WEST in 2013 towards travel and equipment costs.

What did you want to be when you were little?

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a construction engineer or a quality engineer like my dad!

What inspired you to want to be an engineer?

My inspiration for wanting to be involved in engineering is my dad. He’s been involved in it all his life and has been encouraging me throughout everything I do.

What did you study?

I did an Engineering BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma at Sheffield College.

What was it like doing a male-dominated course?

It wasn’t much different  for me really because of my upbringing being around boys most of the time. I haven’t really had a chance to know anything otherwise, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

How did you feel when you got your apprenticeship?

Honestly at first I didn’t believe them when they phoned, but as soon as it sank in I was over the moon about it! It made me and my family so happy to hear that something was going right.

Do they treat you any differently at work because you are a woman?

There’s no need to make any allowances really – I’m just as involved as they are even though I’m the only woman. But I have my own locker room.

What ambitions have you got for the future?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to do engineering. I can’t really remember a time that I didn’t! My career plan is to hopefully proceed to have a full time job at Tata Steel after I finish my apprenticeship.

What did you think about the WEST bursary?

I honestly didn’t think I’d get it, but has been appreciated because I was able to buy new work boots. Also, I’m not currently able to drive, so I have to catch numerous buses and trains and occasionally a lift off someone, so the WEST bursary will  really help to pay for travel expenses so I’ll be able to get to work.

What’s the best thing about engineering – what do you like about it?

I think it’s the fact that most of the work I do is all hands on. That’s the main reason I love engineering.

Advice to other girls or women thinking of doing engineering?

I would say do it! It’s an experience you just can’t explain.