In order to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we hear from Louise Johnston, a finalist for the CIBSE’s Apprentice of the Year 2020 Awards. She talks about her experience in the Apprenticeship programme, what it’s like to work at Schneider Electric and how Schneider has contributed to her journey.
What is it like to work at Schneider Electric?
I am a technical apprentice here at Schneider Electric completing our incredible degree Apprenticeship Programme. I love working for Schneider, I have such a diverse, interactive role training to be an Engineer. I am really enjoying my placements. I get to see behind the scenes, things that the general public never gets to witness which make the job so exciting. Every day is different which is something I thrive in, it allows me to learn and consolidate that learning. You know that by working for Schneider Electric you’re supported in every aspect of what you’re doing.
I love working for Schneider, I have such a diverse, interactive role training to be an Engineer.
When and why did you decide to become an Engineer?
From a young age, I had always been very creative- I loved and still love arts and crafts, designing and I thoroughly enjoyed woodwork and metalwork at school. I also love problem-solving. In my last year of secondary school, I decided I wanted to pursue engineering because there were so many paths I could go down that included everything that I enjoy so much. I did various work experiences in different forms of engineering to make certain this was the career I wanted to pursue. Since then I have been focused on engineering and pursuing it.
Why the Schneider Electric apprenticeship programme?
When I found out about Schneider Electric I quickly knew that this was where I wanted to start my career. Everyone who I had interactions with at Schneider was friendly, warm, and welcoming. I love everything that Schneider stands for and the core values align with my personal values. This was a big factor for me because I have always wanted to make sure that I am doing what I believe in and enjoy. I could also see just how supportive Schneider is and how there are just so many opportunities to grow yourself and your career.
I love everything that Schneider stands for and the core values align with my personal values.
How has Schneider Electric supported your career?
Schneider Electric has supported my career by giving me so much exposure and knowledge, including sponsoring me to do a degree in my passion – engineering. Schneider has supported me by giving me the relevant training to aid my understanding and qualifications. It is also the individuals, on a daily basis who, support me and my choices, such as my managers, placement managers, and the engineers I have been working closely with. They support me by understanding that there is a limit to my existing knowledge and helping me to improve my knowledge and understanding.
How has the flexibility across Schneider enabled you to explore a range of career choices and opportunities across different areas?
The fact that I was able to extend my placement just shows the flexibility across the company, there were no worries for me staying at the national gallery for longer because I was still learning and picking up new knowledge every day. Being able to have this placement exposure has allowed me to see the different paths that this career can take you down and it’s ultimately going to make us amazing engineers who have both a broad understanding but most importantly appreciation for other people’s hard work during a project.
What has been your most rewarding experience?
So far, I would say it’s the satisfaction of the knowledge I now have, being able to determine what might be causing a problem, or just having an understanding of how something most people don’t think about, works. That’s what I think is rewarding, that and making a difference and building relationships with clients.
What has been your most challenging experience?
At first, it was all slightly daunting because I didn’t have enough knowledge, I was learning about things I had zero experience in and I found it both frustrating and challenging. However, every day it got easier as I picked up more. So, I would say my most challenging experience as an Apprentice Engineer was when I found myself having a very client faced role whilst still only learning myself. However, as challenging as this was it has certainly been my most rewarding experience too as I was both greatly respected and appreciated and was able to make a difference.
What advice do you have for females interested in becoming an Engineer?
Do it! My advice is to not be put off by the idea of this being a male-dominated industry because this is changing and with the help of other passionate, enthusiastic women we will change this. It’s such an exciting diverse career, it’s dynamic, enjoyable, challenging, and fun. I’m a firm believer that men and women bring different things, different knowledge, and different trains of thought and so together we can enrich the working environment and build a brighter future. #LifeIsOn
It’s such an exciting diverse career, it’s dynamic, enjoyable, challenging, and fun.
Start your career at Schneider Electric! Search early career opportunities here: www.se.com/students
About the Author
Louise is in her second year in the Technical Apprenticeship programme who has recently started her new placement in Power Solutions in Crawley, United Kingdom. Throughout Louise’s Apprenticeship she will get the opportunity to join different teams, in different sectors to get a rounded overview of the engineering available in Digital Energy. At the same time, she is working towards a degree in Integrated Engineering at the University of Lincoln as this is a Degree Apprenticeship scheme that goes hand in hand with her every day, on-site learnings.