Emily Walsh EngTech MIMechE, Composite Design Engineer, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group

Tell us more about your apprenticeshipEmily Walsh lg

My apprenticeship was technical based. This meant I had to gain the experience and NVQ from a production environment for the first 3 years and then, in my final year, move across to the design office to develop those skills onto paper. I completed my apprenticeship in-house at MarshallADG in Cambridge, with the support to further my education at Bedford College and now at the Open University.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done in your career?

I worked alongside a fellow fitter to remove, service and install all the flying controls for a TriStar L1011 during its maintenance check. Due to the scale of the aircraft, I quickly had to get over any fear of heights! Seeing the aircraft fly for the final time last year before being decommissioned was a very emotional day.

Do you get to be creative?

I do - I get flashbacks to my Art A-Level! I have the freedom to use my imagination to come up with new designs, and the experience to check if they will work.

What are your plans for further professional development?

I’m working towards a BSc Open Degree from the Open University. Once completed, I hope to progress this to a Masters and earn Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status from the Institution.

What do you like most about the profession?

I like the diversity of my career and the many forms of engineering, from maintenance and monitoring, to product design and all the way through to drawing on the back of a fag packet. It’s all very rewarding.

Any last words of advice?

Don’t get into mechanical engineering if you haven’t got an imagination. This is not a tunnel vision career - having a specialism in one field is great, but you need to be open to understanding others to make the most of your own expertise. And don’t worry if you’re not too confident in one key subject related to engineering -  there are always opportunities available.

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Find out more about gearing up for a career in mechanical engineering.