PA champion girls in engineering

Engineering apprentices are a valuable part of our business, we invest a vast amount of time and effort in developing young individuals who have aspirations to achieve whilst gaining a qualification.

During the annual recruitment process each year we notice the small number of girls who apply for engineering apprenticeship roles. We recently opened our 2019 engineering apprenticeship scheme to new applicants and were disappointed to see that out of more than 30 applicants only 2 girls applied, we can only assume this is down to the stigma around engineering and that even today there is the perception that’s it’s a man’s job.

We are keen to champion girls in engineering and believe there is not enough female role models in our industry and more needs to be done in schools and with parents to educate about the many different jobs it covers.

Tanya Westenraad is a prime example of how girls can have a successful career in engineering. Her journey started when she joined as a mechanical design engineer apprentice, at the age of 18 we supported her through her training and she completed her degree in Mechanical Engineering and now Tanya is the design team leader with responsibility for new tray sealing and pot filling and sealing machine designs.

Tanya commented…
“In this day and age I think it’s fantastic that woman can be a part of Engineering. I completed a 4 year (AMEA) Advanced Modern Engineering Apprenticeship with PA and was very fortunate to be supported by the company to complete a 4 year part time B.ENG (Hons) Degree in Mechanical Engineering after that. Working whilst learning really helped to apply the theory in reality, gaining experience at the same time. I could not recommend it enough for anyone considering engineering as a job, to have the support and training of qualified people is a fun and fantastic learning environment”.

The apprentice scheme offered is IMechE approved and enables apprentices to achieve an Engineering Technician (EngTech) qualification. This allows young men and women to study for a recognised qualification whilst earning. On completion they are then encouraged to continue with their higher education and continue to study to HND (level 5) or undertake a degree qualification (e.g.B Eng(Hons) in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering). We have many individuals, men and women who have graduated and have just had recent success with a former apprentice who was studying at Manchester Metropolitan University and achieved a first in his Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree.

We have trained more than 100 apprentices since the scheme started over 30 years ago with former apprentices now holding director, management and team leader roles in the business today. We are hoping to see more girls during the application process next year.

For more information about our apprenticeship schemes, please contact Dorothy Wainscott -

Packaging Automation Ltd was established in 1963 and is a leading UK manufacturer of tray sealing and pot filling and sealing machinery for a wide range of applications in the food industry. Based in Knutsford, it is a third generation family business with more than 125 employees.