News Apr 10, 2020

Excelling in STEM: Jacobs’ Degree Apprentices shine bright and inspire

Katie and Rebecca, two of our Engineering Degree Apprentices in the U.K., are shattering the glass ceiling and inspiring young women and girls to consider engineering as a profession.

STEM Students

All around the globe, we’re helping to shape young lives by providing early career programs that give opportunities to graduates, interns and apprentices. Enter Katie Rotherham and Rebecca Roberts, two of our Engineering Degree Apprentices in the U.K., who are shattering the glass ceiling and inspiring young women and girls to consider engineering as a profession.

Katie has always been interested in design and technology. At high school, her technology teacher and, later, the Assistant Vice Principal, encouraged her to pursue her passion and opened doors to opportunities in STEM, including suggesting Katie take part in the Industrial Cadets work experience program with Jacobs.

Rebecca wants to make a difference to people’s lives. Inspired by her uncle, an engineer who has helped with restoration projects after earthquakes in New Zealand, Rebecca believes that engineering can have a profound and tangible effect on communities.

Katie and Rebecca were at high school together and are now colleagues in the Highways team at Jacobs, spending four days a week in the office in Stockton and one day studying Civil Engineering at Teesside University. They took part in The Big Project, an initiative we developed to help create a legacy for their school, Carmel College, and industry, by promoting the opportunities available to students in STEM subjects. In a series of rounds, students had to develop an idea that would improve our business or services, supported by a Jacobs mentor and a teacher.

Mike Bowen, Enterprise Adviser at Jacobs, connects with Carmel College to support young people in preparing for work. “From the get-go, we were impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity shown by Rebecca and Katie and wanted to bring their talent into the business. They are both really driven to work for Jacobs and within the engineering sector and are helping to challenge the perception of women in engineering,” he said.

“As well as continuing with the Big Project at Carmel College, we are now working in partnership with the Tees Valley Combined Authority, taking a scaled-up version, ‘The Big Big Project’, out on a wider platform across the whole of the Tees Valley region and enabling more and more students to engage in these events,” added Mike.

In addition to their project work as engineers, both Katie and Rebecca play an active role in promoting STEM and are Jacobs mentors for the next generation of students at Carmel College who are taking part in The Big Project. They are keen to inspire other young people, particularly young women, to take up careers in engineering, and have worked with The Careers & Enterprise Company to tell the world what they’re about.

You can see Rebecca and Katie’s stories in this video