Ashleigh Burgess, Junior Electrical Technician, DP World London Gateway
I have been employed by DP World London Gateway for four and a half years. I chose a career in engineering as I was always interested in knowing how things work and taking things apart and I also wanted a respectful career. I previously had an admin role which was not challenging enough for me so when I saw the apprenticeship role I had to apply. My brother told me ‘you won’t get that it’s a man’s job’ but that just made me more determined to get the apprenticeship.
Engineering is a challenging and varied role where I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to fix something and making it work again. Engineering allows me to constantly be learning new things and facing new challenges. I work in the ASC (Automated Stacking Cranes) team where we cover everything from planned maintenance, spotting things that might go wrong in the future, break downs and fault findings.
As a junior technician, there is a bit more guidance from other team members and if I haven’t done a particular job before then someone will show me how to go about doing it. We normally work in pairs with different skills, for example a mechanic and an electrician, so we can quickly fix the problem which, we also continuously learn new skills by working with different skilled engineers.
I am aiming to do a HND (Higher National Diploma) and then hopefully top up to a full degree, which would help me reach my career goal which is to eventually be a team leader but there is still so much to learn in such a varied position.
Engineering is a hard and challenging role and it can be so frustrating when I have tried five or six different things to fix something. My job is never completed as there is always something breaking down, it’s like a never-ending cycle of fixing things which can be very challenging.
Also, when I first started I didn’t know how to use any of the equipment or where it was, I thought I was never going to be able to learn it all but here I am four and a half years later and i can’t believe how far i have come.
At the beginning when I first started working with mostly men I felt like I had to prove myself (which I have), the conversational topics are mostly about football and ‘men’ orientated stuff but at the end of it we all laugh around with each other and we are all friends.
The tips and advice I would give to someone who was thinking of becoming an engineer is that if you’re interested try it, there are so many skills such as creative thinking and using your initiative. Engineering uses a wide spectrum of transferable skills so if you don’t like one aspect of engineering you could like the others. Don’t be put off or afraid by the prejudiced comments use them to make you more determined.