Metal Presswork “Baptism of Fire”
Saffron Williamson – Apprenticeship in Engineering
Saffron Williamson had always been a model student – focused, diligent and committed to her personal development. Tutor Martin Stewart said “Saffron passed every exam, achieving high grades in them all. She always performed over and above what was expected of her, attending any outside college or work events when asked, and she maintained exemplary attendance and timekeeping throughout her time at college.”
Continuing, Martin said “She did her engineering work experience at metal presswork specialists Clamason Industries, including volunteering to work over the summer. Now properly employed there, and going on to the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Apprenticeship in the autumn, it’s fair to say that Saffron has become a true ambassador for women in engineering.”
“BTEC opened my eyes to the world of engineering. Having an apprenticeship meant I could learn on the job yet still get the book learning I needed. My college tutors were helpful, understanding and, best of all, patient, always offering explanations when things went wrong. That all helped me get good grades and a good work placement, plus good reports from my employer.”
SAFFRON WILLIAMSON Clamason Industries Apprentice
Her employer is Paul Edwards, head of Operations at Clamason. “Apprentices are crucial to our manufacturing business,” he said. “We have an ageing workforce and need to fill skills gaps. We regularly get good applicants from Dudley and especially liked the look of Saffron. Even though she was naturally quiet and reserved, she interviewed well. She also received good tutor reports and, probably most importantly, everybody liked her.
“We took on Saffron as an apprentice over the summer then issued a formal job offer. She was thrown in at the deep end and assigned a place in our specialised metal presswork sector, manufacturing metal parts. The machines are complex and her job is to keep them running. Also, the room is staffed entirely by men aged 45+ who are all experienced and highly skilled. Unsurprisingly we thought Saffron, at just 17, would be daunted by all of this, but no, she both handled the tooling machinery competently and quickly charmed all the men. They now work closely with her and offer daily support when and if it’s needed.”
Saffron is pleased that “my apprenticeship is going really well. I’ve had regular mentoring from the tutors at college who, I confess, told me to work on my accuracy. It’s the kind of criticism I really appreciate because I know it will take as many as 12 years before I become 100% qualified. Thanks to the help from Dudley and my employers I’m already well on my way.”
Engineering as a career can take you anywhere and, in today’s uncertain labour market, that’s important. Saffron’s goal, she said, is to develop her skills in CNC, metal presswork and machine programming. Being a pragmatic young lady she added “That’s where the money is.”
Our Saffron is on course to succeed in her career. She truly merits this award for all her hard work and determination to master her ‘baptism of fire’.