People Like Me

Two young apprentices at Cavendish Nuclear have become role models in a nationwide campaign to encourage more teenage girls to think about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Chloe Branston, an advanced CAD apprentice at Leicester, and Sarah Dockeray, a scientific apprentice in Cumbria, are featured in a new teaching pack being distributed to schools.

People Like Me has been produced by WISE, the campaign for gender balance in science, technology and engineering in the UK, and aims to improve the low entry rate to STEM apprenticeships among girls.

The resource pack for teachers is part of a campaign targeting 200,000 teenagers in a bid to improve the gender balance in tomorrow’s workforce.

Women make up 55 per cent of all apprenticeships in the UK – but just 5.5 per cent of those in STEM subjects.

WISE wants to change that by getting teachers to stimulate new ways of thinking among girls about their career choices

Chloe and Sarah feature on the cover of the packs and are profiled inside.

Chloe – recently named 7th in the UK’s top 50 women in engineering under the age of 35 – originally wanted to be a midwife and started training in health and social care. But she changed careers after realising how much she missed maths and physics and applied for an apprenticeship at Cavendish Nuclear.

“It feels very, very good to be thought of as a role model,” said Chloe, who’s about to enter her fourth and final year as an apprentice.

“Cavendish Nuclear is very active in promoting STEM in schools in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire where I’m from. The response so far has been amazing. Hopefully, this will encourage more girls.”

Sarah from Whitehaven in Cumbria has always been fascinated by science – as a child, she wanted to be an astronaut who goes to the moon.

Now, after turning down a place at university studying journalism in 2014 to pursue a scientific career with Cavendish Nuclear instead, she spends her time training in the company’s environmental labs at Greeson Court at Westlakes Science Park.

Sarah takes part in STEM visits to local schools with another female scientist and ex-apprentice Charlotte Vernon.

“The kids don’t expect two women to turn up and talk about science,” says Sarah. “It’s all about changing perceptions and expectations, and I’ll be really pleased if in some way my part in the WISE initiative achieves that.”

For more information about People Like Me: Pathways to Apprenticeships, visit:

www.wisecampaign.org.uk/about-us/wise-projects/people-like-me