Kelsey Parker, Former Engineering Ambassador at Westfield School
Kelsey Parker joined the Better Learners Better Workers programme because her dad works in the engineering sector and she wanted to find out more about working in the sector, and develop her confidence.
The Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing programme is where the Better Learners Better Workers scheme all began, with the help of the Cutlers’ Company. The programme is delivered by The Work-wise Foundation, who work with sector employers across the region to offer over 100 hours of world-of-work experience to Ambassadors.
Kelsey said: “I was able to visit different engineering firms and see hands-on what it’s like on the shop floor but also in the offices.”
She added: “I also went to different events – for example, I was able to get involved in planning and organising the annual ‘Get Up To Speed’ event which gives a chance to see some really exciting engineering inventions and find out what careers are available in engineering.”
As part of the Better Learners Better Workers programme, Kelsey was able to take part in a two-week work experience at Tinsley Bridge Group, a leading manufacturer of slideways, shear blades, and steel mill blades: “I absolutely loved it. Every single day I was in different parts of the business from finance to 3D printing to the shop floor. Because of that experience, I decided that I want to become a metallurgist. It opened my eyes to all the different opportunities in engineering.”
Ambassadors on the Better Learners Better Workers programme also receive support from a Business Champion, who holds a senior position in their organisation. They develop a strong relationship with the school and help ensure that the employer requirements of the sector are fully understood by senior staff, teachers and students.
Sarah Ward, who’s a Director of engineering company Straaltechniek, was Kelsey’s Business Champion at Westfield School. Kelsey said: “Sarah was a great support and mentor to me. I presented at an event in London and I represented the programme on BBC Radio Sheffield. The Better Learners Better Workers programme, including Sarah’s support, really did improve my confidence, but I also learnt a whole range of other skills about team work, resilience, literacy, maths and communication.”
Kelsey has now gone on to study A Levels in Chemistry, Maths and Physics at Wales High School.
She said: “I want to study Material Sciences at university and become a metallurgist. I was offered an apprenticeship at Tinsley Bridge, where I did my work experience, and I am still being offered opportunities for work placements there, which is fantastic. I would love to go there if I don’t pursue my university course.”