We spoke to Catherine Burrin, a rail apprentice from our Apprentice Network, based in London, and working for Thales.

Can you describe your role in a few words?

I am currently working in telecoms on the London Underground.

What were you doing prior to your apprenticeship?

When I left school, I went to university to study history, and after graduating did a level 3 course in marine engine maintenance. My last job before joining Thales was working in mechanics at a ten-pin bowling alley.

What was your perception of the construction sector before you started your apprenticeship?

I thought it was quite a male-dominated sector with a lot of heavy work. Working in telecoms in rail, my perception and understanding of the construction sector hasn’t moved on too much from here!

What made you apply to Thales specifically?

I wanted to build a career in engineering and was seeking a job that would allow me to learn something new every day, and offer training throughout my lifetime rather than just at the beginning of the job. Thales work within a wide range of engineering fields and this was appealing to me.

What are the top two things you’ve learnt so far in your job?

I’d say that certainly it’s never too late to re-train and learn something new. And secondly, asking lots of questions is the best way to learn.

And what is the most exciting part of your job would you say?

Getting to work with lots of different and knowledgeable people, going to a wide range of different sites across London, and being given opportunities to get involved in different events and areas of the industry. I took part in a panel event about dismantling gender stereotypes in STEM run by HSRG earlier this year which I enjoyed and I may end up working on high speed opportunities’ in the future which is really exciting.

What would you like to do after completing your apprenticeship?

I would potentially like to do a degree while continuing to work in telecoms. Longer term I’d like to stay technical but increase my knowledge and skills as far as I’m capable of!