Two Siemens engineering apprentices are going for gold in the international skills competition WorldSkills. Lucy Yelland, 20, and Ben Love, 19, are taking part in the National Finals of the 2022 WorldSkills UK competition.
The pair, who are in the second year of a degree apprenticeship with Manchester-based Siemens Digital Industries, will be going up against other teams from across the UK in the mechatronics division.
The final at Barking & Dagenham College from November 14-18 is the culmination of a seven-month process including regional heats and intensive training. Winners go on to represent Team UK at the skills competition in Lyon, France, in 2024.
Ben, from Salford, and has been interested in engineering and technology from an early age. “My dad runs an electrical engineering business, so I grew up tinkering with electrical components and various hardware and software that he brought home from work,” he said. “It became a hobby and when I was 14, I used Siemens’ kit to build a home automation system which controlled my bedroom blinds, lamp, and even set up an alarm system with a laser through beam sensor.
Ben studied at Bridgewater High School in Warrington before taking on a BTEC Level 3 extended diploma in electrical and electronic engineering at Wigan and Leigh College where he built a Bluetooth speaker and even launched his own additive manufacturing business, selling parts to customers all over the world.
After two work experience placements at Siemens Ben knew where he wanted to start his career. “Having been exposed to Siemens technology from an early age, there was only one company I wanted to work for,” he said. “It has been a dream come true. There are so many opportunities. I just want to experience as many different parts of the business as I can and see where it takes me. I’m excited that we have reached the WorldSkills UK final and just aim to do my best, enjoy myself and see how it goes.”
Lucy, from Stoke, Staffordshire, also discovered her interest in engineering through her dad. “I liked fixing things, whether that was my bike or some broken household appliance,” she said. “I was very hands-on, and you could often find me messing about in the garage with dad.
The Clayton Hall Academy student did GCSE engineering before A-Levels in key STEM subjects including mathematics and physics, as well as undertaking work experience placements in engineering.
“Studying GCSE engineering there were only a few girls in a room full of boys,” Lucy said. “While daunting, it never put me off. A career in engineering was something I was determined to pursue. I now see it as my responsibility to show other girls that engineering is something they can do. My time with Siemens has been brilliant, so far. I’m learning on the job, balancing learning with work experience, and getting to understand the company and the opportunities available.”
Commenting on their achievement, Brian Holliday, Managing Director for Siemens Digital Industries, said: “Lucy and Ben have shown real dedication and determination to make it so far in the competition and we are very proud of them. Their achievement demonstrates a promising career at Siemens.
“Early careers opportunities like apprenticeships are a critical part of our mission to ensure we have the talent and growth mindset we need for the future.
“Offering school leavers, university students and graduates a fulfilling career pathway is key to solving the skills gap in the technology, manufacturing and engineering industries.”
Johnny Mathieson, Early Career Professionals Manager for Siemens Digital Industries, said: “Competitions like WorldSkills equip apprentices and students with the lifelong skills that they can apply to their jobs and the industry.
“Our early careers programme has been designed to combine the needs and ambitions of today’s talented young people with the skills companies like Siemens need to turn them into the experts of tomorrow.
“Opportunities at Siemens DI cover manufacturing, mechatronics, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, technical sales, engineering technical support, IT, data analytics, and business administration.
“Each element of the programme offers stimulating challenges, real-world industry experience, first class mentoring, and opportunity to earn while they learn.”