Meet Charlotte Atkins, Metrology Dimensional Analysis Engineer, Bentley.

Related tags:

  • Career Advice

With A Levels fast approaching and important decisions to be made about your future, we're pleased to share our interview with Charlotte Atkins, who recently achieved a first class with honours in her Mechanical Engineering degree during her apprenticeship with Bentley. 

Degree apprenticeships are still a relatively new programme that not everyone knows about.  If you have achieved A-Level qualifications, you can go straight into a higher level apprenticeship; you get on-the-job training in a real working environment, whilst also enjoying the benefits of university study, but with no tuition fees or debt, in fact, you earn a wage at the same time! 

Degree apprenticeships give you skills, confidence and invaluable experience, allowing you to have a fantastic head start in the world of work. 

Charlotte is a real inspiration and a great example of how an apprenticeship can really help someone achieve their dream career.

Meet Charlotte Atkins, Metrology Dimensional Analysis Engineer, Bentley.

 

Elizabeth:           

Wow Charlotte, that’s an amazing job title! Metrology – isn’t that the weather?!

 

Charlotte:           

Ha! No, metrology is the study of measurement.

 

Elizabeth:           

Aha, so what do you do?

 

Charlotte:           

I analyse measurement data to understand how parts interact, and understand how the dimensions of the part fitment. I work closely with the cross functional teams to tackle the dimensional and fitment problems I find through measurement.

 

Elizabeth:           

So tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

Charlotte:           

I’m 22 and I’m from Flint in North Wales. I did A-Levels in maths, physics and economics - I always preferred those kinds of subjects.

 

Elizabeth:           

So what made you want to be an apprentice?

 

Charlotte:           

My parents encouraged me to pursue the apprenticeship route – obviously they know me very well and knew that I would be very happy if I was earning money!

 

Elizabeth:           

We hear you! So how did you apply?

 

Charlotte:           

I knew I wanted to work at Bentley – obviously their reputation and the prestige of their name made working here very appealing. After school I searched for an apprenticeship with Bentley, completed an online test then a multiple choice mechanical test. I was then invited for a practical test, had an interview with my manager and got the job.

 

Elizabeth:           

Phew! Well done! You obviously did well in all of the tests but what else do you think made you stand out?

 

Charlotte:           

I think I had done a few things which stood me in good stead; I had already had a part-time job with an architect, I was a prefect at school and had done some charity work. All of these things looked great on my CV and I’d recommend them to anyone.

 

Elizabeth:           

Fantastic. So you were taken on at Bentley, what happened next with your training?

 

Charlotte:           

I was introduced to the team at Total People, met everyone who would be supporting me and got signed up onto a four year Engineering Apprenticeship. For the first few months I was on a college block release, studying CNC Milling, Autocad and Mechanical Milling. It was a great start.

 

Elizabeth:           

Sounds very hands-on. Tell us more!

 

Charlotte:           

I’ve experienced lots of short-term placements in different departments to better understand how they work within the overall business – this has given me invaluable insight. I’m also learning German!

 

Elizabeth:           

Wunderbar! What’s the support been like from the team at Total People?

 

Charlotte:           

The support has been good – my Training Adviser has always been interested in my progress. Communication has been brilliant.

 

Elizabeth:           

That’s good to hear. We shouldn’t need to ask this, but what’s it like being a female in a male dominated environment?

 

Charlotte:           

It’s been great, I’m the only female engineer in a department of around 30 men but I never feel different. If anything I get more respect.

 

Elizabeth:           

That’s great. What have been the highlights of the apprenticeship?

 

Charlotte:           

Where do I start! It’s been amazing. I’ve worked on the creation of the Bentley stand at the Motor Show in Geneva, I’ve experienced purchasing and engineering design, helped with employability workshops, and I’m a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassador, which means I’m involved in school liaison activities. I was also shortlisted for Autocar’s Top 100 Great British Women in their apprentice category.

 

Elizabeth:           

That sounds amazing! And what about qualifications?

 

Charlotte:           

I’ve achieved my HNC and HND, both with distinction, and I’m so proud that I recently got a first class with honours in my Mechanical Engineering degree.

 

Elizabeth:           

Wow! So you got a university education, all whilst being paid and working?

 

Charlotte:           

Yes! That is the best part of an apprenticeship. I don’t feel for a moment like I missed out at Uni as I always had the money in my pocket to go and visit my friends at weekends. I’m in a far better position now than if I’d gone to university full time.

 

Elizabeth:           

You’ve already achieved so much, but what’s next for you?

 

Charlotte:           

I’m going to Stuttgart soon to do a placement with Porsche, looking at how they work and whether any processes can be applied here. Next year I want to implement everything I’ve learned and continue with new projects. I’d also like to study for a Masters.

 

Elizabeth:           

Charlotte, you’re an inspiration. What would you say to other young people?

 

Charlotte:           

I’d recommend the apprenticeship route to anyone. My confidence has grown so much over the past four years, and the combination of learning, earning and working is absolutely perfect. It’s honestly been fantastic and I feel so lucky.

 

Elizabeth:           

And finally, what’s your five-year plan?

 

Charlotte:           

I’d like a role with more responsibility, perhaps be a Project Manager or Top Knowledge Holder within the department. More than anything I’d like to progress, for me it’s about always moving forward.

 

Charlotte Atkins was interviewed by Elizabeth Sheppard

If you'd like to learn more and find out what opportunities we may have available for you, read more below.

Read More