Emma currently works as a Manufacturing Shop Support Engineer in the A320 Wing Manufacturing Department at Airbus UK in Broughton. The role involves a wide range of tasks. Examples include developing and improving tooling to ensure ‘right first time’ methodology and working Engineering and Design Query Notes; these are shop floor queries on drawings, processes or parts that need an engineering investigation and design investigation. Other work includes writing new, and updating engineering processes/methods used by the production teams to manufacture and assembly an Airbus Single Aisle Wing. Emma also works closely with quality engineering on a day-to-day basis to resolve issues with components and suppliers. There is also a large percentage of people liaison involved with the role. Emma supports airline customer visits, and has established links with colleagues at the Final Assembly Lines for the aircraft in France, Germany and China as essential to best practice and continual improvement. Additionally, Emma contributes and supports long term improvement projects such as flying control developments and cost saving initiatives.
After achieving an A at Resistant Materials at GCSE Emma decided to Study Engineering at A-Level, completing an Advanced Vocational Certificate in Engineering, a Double A-Level award. The ‘University route’ didn’t appeal to Emma during high school and she instead applied for a series of Engineering Apprenticeships at various companies in North Wales and the North West. With successful applications at Octel and Shell amongst others, she opted to take a place on the Higher Engineering Apprenticeship at Airbus.
Emma says “Although University wasn’t an inviting option for me when I was 18, I still wanted to develop my knowledge and reinforce this with appropriate qualifications. Airbus has allowed me to complete an NVQ level 4 in Management, Foundation Degree in Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering and a Bachelors Degree in Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering. Starting in February 2011 I am beginning to study a Masters Degree in Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering. All at Glyndwr University, Wrexham (formally NEWI)”
The Modern Apprenticeship path that Emma has taken has allowed her to get all the qualifications offered via the traditional education route, such as university, as well as gaining valuable practical ‘hands-on’ experience in a real working environment. These benefits were key to Emma, she admits that she “didn’t want to come out of University with a Degree but no job, and also with the inevitable student debt” – Airbus has sponsored Emma throughout her studies.
Emma’s interest in Engineering and Aviation continues to grow and is developing her career. “My current role as a shop support engineer has given me a broad knowledge of commercial aircraft. The manufacturing section I currently work in assembles and finally equips the wings for the Airbus A320 family before send them to the Airbus Final Assembly Lines in Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany. As we supply and complete product I work with structures, Fuel and Hydraulic systems, and all flying controls. As we are an international organization I have also had the opportunity to work and liaise with our European colleagues.”
Emma’s advice to students is: –
• Keep your options open. There are lots of paths into Engineering – not just the traditional routes.
• Engineering is perceived as predominantly a man’s world, but more and more women are joining the industry. Emma participates in the ‘Girls into Engineering days’ at Airbus that help break down some of the stereotypes that exist.
• Make the most of the opportunities that EESW can give you! The experience has helped me, and my former team mates, to make a career in world of Engineering.