At the age of just sixteen, Olivia Wootton has secured herself an impressive apprenticeship with multi-billion-pound, global company, Thermo Fisher Scientific and is currently studying her level 3 apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering with St Helens College.
Olivia, from Rainford, first heard about apprenticeships after attending an open event at St Helens College and said, “If I hadn’t attended the open event, I don’t think I would have realised that an apprenticeship was an option for me and ultimately, my preferred way of learning.”
Soon after attending the open event, Olivia began searching for apprenticeship job vacancies within the local and surrounding areas. It was through the National Apprenticeship Service website that she spotted the opportunity to work with Thermo Fisher Scientific, based in Warrington. Olivia is currently the only apprentice at the Warrington site.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of £18 billion and more than 55,000 employees globally. Their mission is to enable customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. They help to accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity.
Speaking about her career ambitions, Olivia said, “My family has a strong military background, especially with my dad being a Royal Marine in the Navy. They are very ambitious and goal driven so this has definitely had an influence on my career decisions. Engineering was not something that I feel I was encouraged to study at school but I knew of the career prospects it could provide me. It’s hard to believe that only 4% of women take up engineering apprenticeships but I am happy to be a part of that 4% knowing that this may inspire other women to enter the industry.”
Olivia, who has been in post for six months now has been gaining in-depth experience and skills with Thermo Fisher and is really enjoying the role. She added “No two days are the same. One day I could be working on production line change overs and the next I could be maintaining and repairing equipment. I wanted to ensure I chose a career path that would supply me with endless opportunities and progression routes and a career within engineering can provide me with that.”
As part of her apprenticeship, Olivia spends four days a week in the workplace and one day a week studying at St Helens College. Located at the STEM Centre, Olivia benefits from a £5million learning environment which fosters a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, enterprise and developing areas including advanced engineering and robotics.
Alec Robinson, Head of Engineering at St Helens College praised the determination of Olivia saying, “It is brilliant to see Olivia excelling in her work environment. To gain an apprenticeship with such an esteemed company is an excellent achievement. She is a perfect role model for other young women who may also be considering a career in the thriving engineering industry”.
Olivia admits that making the move from studying GCSEs into work was a hard adjustment but one she quickly got used to, “I was nervous at first as all my friends were either starting sixth form or college but everyone at Thermo Fisher and St Helens College have made me feel really welcome.”
Upon completion of her apprenticeship, Olivia will be progressing onto higher education hoping to undertake a HNC and HND in Mechanical Engineering, which Thermo Fisher have agreed to fund.
Olivia is determined to be the best at what she does and is willing to take on any opportunities to advance her skills and surround herself with people she can really learn from.