Joanne-Sharples---Higher-Apprentice-pic1Lancashire engineer wins Enginuity Skills Award

Talented apprentice engineer Joanne Sharples, has seen her career take off and land her a prestigious engineering award.

The 24-year-old, EAL Learner from St Annes, Fylde beat off strong competition to be named the UK’s Higher Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Rolls-Royce, last night at the Enginuity Skills Awards gala dinner in London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane hosted by BBC journalist, presenter and engineering advocate, Steph McGovern.



Joanne achieved her EAL Level 4 Diploma in Project Management, completed the year with a distinction in her foundation degree and nowhas  the honour of being named the UK’s Higher Apprentice of the Year by Enginuity .

“I am very shocked and surprised to win,” she said. “My teacher Lisa Fitzpatrick at Lytham High School was the person who drove me towards it – she introduced me to BAE Systems. I liked what I heard and I joined the apprenticeship scheme.

“Quite often engineering is misinterpreted as oil and overalls but that is not what engineering is really about – speaking to someone what it really is like will motivate more women to consider it as a career.”

Joanne works in a project management role for BAE's Military Air and Information business in Warton but is currently based at RAF Coningsby. She is in the fourth year of her apprenticeship working towards a Bachelor’s degree.  Joanne's training has so far involved work on complex engineering projects such as the F-35 Lightning II and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

After Joanne proposed to invite schoolgirls on site to inspire and inform them about engineering, she was asked to project manage the event where she demonstrated excellent stakeholder management, holding challenging discussions with many senior stakeholders. The evening was a fantastic success and offered a great experience for the girls.

More female apprentices started work in the business this year, 18% compared to the national average of 5%, and was a direct result of Joanne's actions during the past 18 months.

Ann Watson, CEO of Enginuity , the not-for-profit organisation tasked with skilling engineering and manufacturing in the UK said: “Joanne is a very deserving winner of the Enginuity Skills Award and an inspirational role model for others.

“Her drive and determination is commendable and she is playing a significant role, not only as a Project Manager but as an advocate for female engineers within BAE Systems and beyond. “She is 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 Joanne in STEM careers to keep the skills talent pipeline flowing for UK plc.”

Hundreds of nominations from across the UK for the nine categories were shortlisted to leave 27 finalists battling it out in the prestigious Enginuity Skills Awards.

The awards were judged by an expert industry led judging panel.

Details of all the winners are below and you can also see videos of them talking about their awards.

Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by Atkins

WINNER – Christopher Eckert of Packaging Automation Ltd, Knutsford, Cheshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED – Marc Cotton of Mars Chocolate, Reading

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Robyn Clark and Andy Smith of Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Derbyshire

Higher Apprentice of the Year - sponsored by Rolls-Royce plc

WINNER - Joanne Sharples of BAE Systems plc, Preston

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Adam Davies of Airbus Operations Ltd, Broughton, Chester

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Anna Schlautmann of MBDA UK Ltd, Bolton

Graduate of the Year - sponsored by Marshall

WINNER - Emma England of Airbus Operations Ltd, Filton, Gloucestershire

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Alexander Godfrey of Lockheed Martin UK, Ampthill, Bedfordshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Akshay Ogale of Rolls-Royce plc, Derby

Skills Champion of the Year - sponsored by BAE Systems plc

WINNER - Martin Rigley MBE of Lindhurst Engineering, Nottingham

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Jason Andrews of Martin Manufacturing Ltd, Louth, Lincolnshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Jenny Conlon of KMF, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Skills Innovation of the Year - sponsored by Siemens

WINNER - KMF, Newcastle-under-Lyme HIGHLY COMMENDED - Rolls-Royce plc, Derbyshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Derby

Training Partner of the Year - sponsored by Get MyFirstJob

WINNER - Babcock International, Portsmouth

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow


Award for SME Investment in Skills - sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover

WINNER – Canal Engineering, Nottingham

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Automotive Insulations, Rugby

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Pentaxia Ltd, Derby

Technician of the Year - sponsored by EngTechNow

WINNER – Steve Green of Lockheed Martin UK, Ampthill, Bedfordshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Jade Aspinall of MBDA UK Ltd, Bolton

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Charlotte Hannaby-Farmer of MBDA UK Ltd, Bolton

Enginuity & WISE Diversity in Engineering award – supported by MBDA

WINNER - Dawn Bonfield of Women’s Engineering Society, Stevenage

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Inspire Young People, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Cambridge

Best of British Engineering

WINNER - Emma England of Airbus Operations Ltd, Filton, Gloucestershire

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