She is one of 18 students from Excelsior Academy’s Sixth Form College enrolled onto a pre-apprenticeship programme with the Engineering Training Centre (ETC) on Scotswood Road, Newcastle.


A year of training centre learning and school classroom-based study will be overseen by industry-leading professionals, to be followed by a potential three-year placement at a top North East engineering firm for Bobbie – and the prize of a successful career. 

Excelsior sixth formers are hand-picked each year for the opportunity to work with the ETC team, learning the skills prized by top employers across the country. 

The ETC offers apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship training in mechanical, fabrication, electrical and general engineering at NVQ Levels 2 and 3. 

It works with a pool of about 200 North East engineering firms, providing apprentices to meet their skills requirements. It has a highly successful track record of placing apprentices with top employers who offer superb career opportunities to talented youngsters.

Bobbie, 17, is the only Excelsior girl enrolled onto the course this year. She has held an ambition to work with aircraft as a maintenance engineer since childhood and is relishing her time spent learning new skills. 

“I’ve been learning electrical fitting and I’ve chosen to do welding, turning, milling, fabrication and fitting as well,” said Bobbie.

“You have to be fully dressed in your overalls for 7.15 and at your work station for 7.30 – we stay at work until 4.

“It’s preparing us for when we get a job; I found it a bit tiring at first but I know that it’ll be worth it.”

GCSE passes at Maths and English as well as A grades at ICT and Drama ensured that Bobbie was able to seal a place on the much sought after apprenticeship course.

Excelsior has worked with the ETC for three years, with the vast majority of its young engineers going on to apprenticeships with North East firms or into full-time employment.

Bobbie said: “I’ve always loved hands on work. I’ve looked into engineering maintenance with the Navy and Air Force.

“Maintenance applies to everything from engines to the lights and wheels on the aircraft.

“It would mean everything to me to get a job in maintenance. Engineering makes the world a better place, it makes things happen, if it wasn’t for maintenance engineers then things wouldn’t work.

“I think I’ve been given a chance by Excelsior that no-one else gets. I’ve got the chance to learn with people I feel comfortable with, with teachers that I know.” 

Joe Temple, Excelsior Academy Subject Development Leader of Engineering and Construction, said: “We are really proud of Bobbie. She worked hard to gain a place on the programme and we are confident she will be successful. The training our students receive from the ETC is amazing and will prepare them for the world of work.”

Excelsior Academy is running events this week showcasing engineering as a fantastic career opportunity to pupils as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week.

The national campaign shines a spotlight on engineers and careers, highlighting to young people the incredible projects engineers work on and the range of jobs available in the industry.