ENGINEERING the £40 million Eurofighter Typhoon is the pinnacle of any top career.
But working on one of the world’s most advanced aircraft is already second nature to 21-year-old MMU undergraduate Rachael Hoyle.
Despite her tender years, Rachael has been an aerospace engineer for five years, joining BAE Systems straight from school and enrolling on the respected degree in Mechanical Engineering at MMU in 2007.
Now she has come up trumps again - this week she was named Advanced Apprentice of the Year by the Learning and Skills Council.
Rachael was one of four national winners – three were women - to receive their award from Britain’s Got Talent presenter Amanda Holden in London, attended by John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
"I started my apprenticeship at 16 straight from Ashton-on-Ribble High School," says Rachael. "I don’t have any A Levels, although I have carried out an ONC and HNC in Aerospace Engineering as part of my apprenticeship.
"If I’m honest, I didn’t always want to be an engineer or work with aircrafts, but when I looked into possible courses, apprenticeships really appealed to me as they mean beginning a career and getting involved in real work in my favourite subjects - physics and maths."
She opted for a degree to learn more about the technical details of what she was doing on the job: "I chose MMU because they offer Mechanical Engineering part-time, and the course was also accredited by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers."
Rachel, a technical engineer at the Lancashire Warton plant, added: "The fact that my learning revolves around my job gives me a focus and a greater enthusiasm for what I do both in and outside the classroom. The application to real-life situations proves my learning is worthwhile and gives me a sense of achievement."
BAE Systems’ Education Partnerships Director, Richard Hamer, said: "The best apprentices are not afraid to work alone, in a team, or take charge of a situation. They can manage their time between work and studies effectively, and are aware of their responsibilities, both towards themselves and towards their company."