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Jess Stone, an engineering apprentice at Airbus, hadn’t heard of the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards when her manager first suggested nominating her in the apprentice category. However, she jumped at the chance to share her passion for STEM careers and apprenticeships in the hope of attracting more young people into engineering.

The nomination process included submitting a nomination form and attending an interview with a panel of judges.

Jess explains, “I actually really liked the process. Filling in the nomination helped me take a step back and think about what I’ve achieved so far. And then at the interview I met other young people, some of whom I’m still in contact with, who are taking the same path as me. The interview itself didn’t feel like an interview; it was more just me talking about STEM and what I’m passionate about.”

After she won at the regional level, Jess attended the National Future Manufacturing Awards ceremony in London earlier this year. There, she took home the Higher Level Apprentice – First Year prize.


“The National Awards gala was incredible, it really was. It was a chance to celebrate with my colleagues and guests who attended with me. It was surreal to sit there and realise everyone in the room was there to celebrate the talents of the finalists, myself included. And it was inspirational to hear the other apprentice winners on stage talking about their work. It made me see my work in a different light and realise I’m making a bit of a difference here,” Jess says.

Once she returned to work, Jess says Airbus publicised her award internally and she met many new colleagues who came up to congratulate her on her win. She says the award also gives her a bigger platform to reach further afield with her message around getting more young people into engineering apprenticeships.

Her passion for apprenticeships comes from her own positive experience. Her work as a design engineering at Airbus means she works with a team to come up with creative and realistic solutions to engineering challenges. She enjoys working on cutting edge aerospace technology and being relied on to deliver to critical business deadlines.

She says, “As an apprentice, you’re not doing tick box exercises. You’re a valuable member of the team and you learn on the job from an incredible group of experienced engineers. I would whole heartedly recommend an apprenticeship to get into engineering – even without mentioning the financial benefits of achieving qualifications without debt, which is a bit of a no-brainer. The experience I’ve gotten is beyond compare.”


To apply for the Future Manufacturing Awards as a business or an apprentice, click here.

Find out more about apprenticeships and apply for current vacancies at engineering companies across the UK here.