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Holly Proctor, Engineering Apprentice at Don Whitley Scientific

An Interview with Holly Proctor: Don Whitley Scientific’s First Female Engineering Apprentice.

How did you hear about the DWS apprenticeship scheme?
I came to DWS for work experience and spent some time in the production department, but it wasn’t really for me. I liked the look of the engineering workshop and asked if I could spend the rest of my placement in there; I really enjoyed it and that was when I found out about the apprenticeship scheme and decided to apply.

What do you do at DWS?
I help with programming and maintaining the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, and manufacture components for external customers as well as components used in DWS products.  

Why did you want to work at DWS?
I really enjoyed my time during work experience, so hoped I would be accepted for the apprenticeship scheme – but I did look at a few other engineering companies just in case. One in particular was a huge corporation and I realised I didn’t want to work somewhere that big; I felt much more comfortable with the smaller team at DWS and thought it would give me more chance to shine.

What do you most enjoy about your work?
I enjoy the variety of being able to switch between the mill and lathe machines, and I like seeing a block of raw material transformed into something else and knowing that I made it happen.

Do you have a role model who inspired you to follow this career path?
My dad was a mechanic, but sadly he passed away when I was quite young. Part of me wanted to try it out as a way to make him proud; along the way I realised that I really enjoyed it too!

What advice would you give to other girls who might be thinking about a career in engineering but are worried about entering a male-dominated world?
Just go for it! I was the only girl in my technology class at school, but I really enjoyed it so would encourage anyone who’s interested to give it a try. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it.