Hartlepool student’s inspiring message to other girls

Eilish Millar with Altec group development director David Steel and fellow apprentice Lewis Wigham.
Eilish Millar with Altec group development director David Steel and fellow apprentice Lewis Wigham.

An award-winning apprentice engineer has encouraged other girls to join her in the profession.

Eilish Millar adapted so well to her NVQ course that she earned the Hartlepool College of Further Education Student of the Year award last year.

Eilish is succeeding as well as anyone else here. Engineering is not about someone’s sex, it is about how keen they are and what they bring to the job

David Steel

Now she’s calling on other people to apply for the host of modern apprenticeships on offer at the college from September.

It is holding The Big Apprenticeship Event on Thursday from 5.30pm-8pm where more than 50 employers from hairdressing, catering, engineering and the NHS will be there to give students and their parents advice and guidance on careers and apprenticeships.

Eilish, 17, from Peterlee and a former pupil at the town’s St Bede’s School, said: “I studied engineering as part of my GCSEs when I was unsure of which subjects to choose and I quickly found I loved it.

“When I decided to follow it through after school my family were very supportive, although some people didn’t at first think I was making the right decision.

“But I have no regrets and would tell anyone, boy or girl, to come to the College’s open day to find out more about what it’s about.

“You are supported by the College and at work, and I found being a girl is no disadvantage. In fact, the College has a number of female engineering lecturers who have years of experience and success working in the industry.”

Eilish is placed at Altec Engineering which provides mechanical and electrical engineering support as well as automated solutions to a broad range of industry sectors, and has taken on more than a dozen Hartlepool College apprentices since 2010.

Altec Engineering group development director David Steel said: “Eilish is succeeding as well as anyone else here. Engineering is not about someone’s sex, it is about how keen they are and what they bring to the job.”

The group, which employs 180 staff at sites throughout the region, offers above the National Minimum Wage to its apprentices, recognising the contribution apprentices make to the business as a whole.

Further support is also possible for apprentices wishing to study for an engineering degree.

David said: “We have been impressed with the vast majority of apprentices to come from the College, and we have offered them permanent roles once they have completed their course.”

College Principal Darren Hankey praised Eilish as a “role model” for prospective female engineers and added: “Her success both in our awards and at Altec show that females can succeed as easily as male apprentices and we would encourage all this year’s school-leavers to learn about what apprenticeships we offer by attending our open night.”

The College open evening takes place at its Stockton Street campus where potential apprentices and their families can meet both employers and staff.