Best of British Engineering 2017
UK’s top apprentice – Proves Power of Quals
Worcester engineer is Semta’s Best of British Engineering
Talented engineer Philippa Dressler-Pearson put the disappointment of redundancy behind her to find a new employer, excel in her role and be named Best of British Engineering at the prestigious Semta Skills Awards last night (Wednesday March 8th) – and in doing so proved the power of qualifications.
The 23 year old from Worcestershire beat off strong competition to win the overall award having earlier been named the UK’s Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by MBDA UK Ltd, at the Semta Skills Awards 2017 gala dinner in London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane hosted by BBC presenter Alexander Armstrong.
Her victory underlines the critical role that qualifications play for employees and employers ensuring that skills are both robust and transferable.
Through no fault of her own, Philippa had to bounce back from redundancy, during the third year of her apprenticeship and found a new position with Southco Manufacturing Ltd in Worcester.
Although the business and work was very different, through sheer hard work and determination she completed her Level 3 qualifications and Foundation Degree without any deferment or interruption.
"This is an incredible honour," said Philippa. "I started my apprenticeship four years ago and after 18 months the company I previously worked for went into administration. Being told we were all going to be redundant was devastating.
"I picked myself up, my training provider and college were incredible. Southco came along, we bonded, I went in for an interview and the rest is history. I would say to anyone be enthusiastic, enjoy what you do and you will succeed."
Philippa has gone above and beyond her role as an apprentice design technician with Southco and has assisted in resolving over 100 quality-engineering issues with manufacturing drawings.
Nick Bennett, Engineering Manager at Southco, said: “She has shown an enthusiasm, dynamism and a desire to learn and be the best. She has been supporting the rest of our apprentices, and helped produce an induction programme for engineers which has gone global.”
Philippa has supported her department by taking the design engineering and project leader role in many high value modification projects. To date, the value of her projects exceeds €1.5 million, making a significant contribution to the company.
She has also been heavily involved in organising several charity events and is passionate about showing students, teachers and parents that apprenticeships are a great route into a career.
Ann Watson, CEO of Semta, the not-for-profit organisation tasked with skilling engineering and manufacturing in the UK said: “Philippa is a very deserving overall winner of the Semta Skills Awards and is an inspirational role model for others.
“To put the disappointment of redundancy behind her, find a new employer and then excel in the role shows a fantastic attitude and determination to succeed.
“Without a recognised qualification Philippa may well have struggled to prove her ability and get another job. Semta is campaigning for qualifications to be included in new Trailblazer Apprenticeships – to avoid industrial chaos.
“Philippa is truly the best in British Engineering and exactly the sort of person we need to bang the drum for female engineers. If we are to achieve the 800,000 extra engineers we need by 2020 it is vital we have more young women like Philippa in STEM careers to keep the skills talent pipeline flowing.”
Runners up in the Apprentice of the Year Award Category were: Bradley Clare, Allied Protek and Hal Devonald, Siemens Subsea (Ulverston)
Watch a video of Philippa at the awards: