Two students studying at Wigan and Leigh college’s University Centre have been awarded Sellafield’s Degree Apprentice of the Year award.
Moneka Duffy (pictured above, at left) and Mollie German (pictured above, centre, with John Patterson, head of engineering design resources and development at Sellafield), who are in their final year of their BEng (Hons) mechanical and manufacturing engineering degrees, were delighted to receive the award, which included nominations from all sections of the degree apprenticeship programme within Sellafield.
‘I am proud of us both winning this award. I feel it really encourages and validates the hard work we have put into our early careers so far,’ Duffy said.
Both students currently work as mechanical designers for the nuclear company at its Warrington site, while also studying the nuclear scientist/engineer integrated degree apprenticeship at the University Centre on a part-time basis.
They are big advocates for the degree apprenticeship route, which has many benefits to learners and the industry. ‘Some of my friends who went down the university degree route still haven’t managed to get a job yet,’ German said. ‘The learning we do here reinforces knowledge needed for the workplace.’
Duffy agreed that a degree apprenticeship was beneficial for her career development too. ‘The integrated approach has given me sought-after skills that I can relate to the workplace and the teaching further helps with our dissertation work-based projects,’ she said.
The duo acted as chair (German) and co-chair (Duffy) for the Risley (Sellafield site) Apprentice Council during their second year of studying the HND part of their course. They commented that their business and social impact contributed to receiving the award, along with gaining distinctions in all of their units on the HND course at college.
Both engineers are set to become full-time design engineers at Sellafield once they’ve completed their final year in June 2024.
German will then spend a year at sea, as she will be mobilised with the Royal Navy Reserves as a war sea specialist. She also has ambitions to do a Master’s and would like to become a chartered engineer.
Duffy plans to continue her dynamic learning and explore her opportunities once completing her BEng. ‘I plan to gain a well-rounded perspective that will inform my future decisions and allow me to build a career I enjoy and equip me with the skills I need to obtain it,’ she said. ‘The small class sizes we have here mean we get a lot more support than if we had gone to a larger university receiving lectures in a large hall for example. Our tutors are always easy to get hold of and the course gives me a wider appreciation of different engineering fundamentals and helps us with our career edge portfolio, which is required at the end of our apprenticeship.’