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My degree apprenticeship journey: Developing a successful career at JLR

My degree apprenticeship journey: Developing a successful career at JLR

Chloe Crutchlow, Degree Apprentice - JLR (WMG Applied Engineering Programme)

Headshot of Chloe Crutchlow - Analytical Measurement Technologies Engineer at JLR, and WMG Degree Apprentice.Chloe Crutchlow, Analytical Measurement Technologies Engineer at JLR, reflects on her professional and personal motivations, and her Degree Apprenticeship journey. Having joined WMG's Applied Engineering Programme in 2016, and following her recent success as winner of a 2020 TechWomen100 Award, Chloe highlights how the course, delivered by WMG at the University of Warwick in partnership with JLR, has benefited her.

1. Congratulations on winning a 2020 TechWomen100 Award - Can you tell us a little bit about it? How did you get nominated? What will this mean for your career?

The TechWomen100 awards are hosted by WeAreTechWomen, an organisation set up to accelerate career development for women in technology.

The awards showcase women within technology and STEM, and a shortlist of 200 women is initially produced, reducing to 100 winners chosen by a panel of judges.

I nominated myself after receiving an email from the Jaguar Land Rover Women in Engineering & Allies Network. I hope that the recognition this award gives me provides opportunities for discussing women in technology, and ultimately hope it boosts my CV for any future opportunities. I am very proud of my achievement and encourage others to apply for 2021!

2. Briefly describe your role and your apprenticeship

I am currently in the final stages of the Jaguar Land Rover Engineering Degree Apprenticeship and the BEng Applied Engineering Degree from WMG at the University of Warwick.

When I joined Jaguar Land Rover in September 2014 I started in the Powertrain department, and then moved into the Analytical Measurement Technologies team shortly after.

I know work as an engineer within this team, working on shifts with responsibility over eight vehicle test cells, including certification test cells where vehicles are tested to ensure conformance with emissions legislation.

I ensure all equipment has the consumables needed to operate, such as gas and liquid nitrogen; I complete weekly, monthly and three-monthly legislative checks and calibrations; rectify faults; and complete project work such as equipment installations and investigative work. I work with three technicians and one fitter.

3. Why did you decide to do a Degree Apprenticeship?

I decided to follow a Degree Apprenticeship route rather than progressing into a full-time university course to achieve job experience, for job security (six-year contract), to have the option of learning hands-on skills, and to earn money. When applying for university degrees and the Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeship, I did not have a set career path that I wanted to follow, and therefore an apprenticeship appealed more than a specific degree course due to the opportunity to specialise later on in my career. I was also very conscious of having a stable career and income to plan for my future.

4. What skills are you applying to your role?

Within my role I apply problem solving skills on a regular basis, along with mechanical and electrical principles, and skills in how to use hand tools.

I use communication skills to work with my technicians and fitter to ensure all work for the shift is undertaken and issues are resolved, and for communicating to higher management and visiting authorities/governments.

I use skills developed at university on a regular basis. For example, from the measurement systems and metrology module to provide a basis for fault diagnosis and calibration protocols.

5. What have you enjoyed the most?

I really enjoy being faced with a problem at work and being able to solve it, through either experience in my role, knowledge of the emissions equipment I work with, mechanical/electrical systems knowledge, or through problem solving techniques – there is always something gratifying about solving a problem!

I have also enjoyed learning such a variety of engineering topics through the Applied Engineering Programme, and potentially want to carry on in my education in the future due to my interest in specific areas, such as measurement technologies and sustainable engineering.

6. What are your ambitions for the future?

In the future I hope to continue with my education, likely part-time whilst still working, to pursue my interests in engineering and technology.

I would also like to progress within my career, either becoming more specialist in my current role, or moving laterally into another engineer role to expand my knowledge and push myself into new opportunities.

I also hope to buy a house, continue to learn French (which I am currently doing) and continue to support the Women in Engineering & Allies network within Jaguar Land Rover.

7. What would you say to help encourage other women/girls into technology careers?

If you enjoy maths and science subjects at school/within education, I believe that engineering and technology careers are worth investigating.

There are a huge number of careers, wide ranging and interesting in their content. When I joined Jaguar Land Rover I had no idea of the number of different job roles and areas of specialism – there really is something for everyone!

The automotive industry as a whole is shifting to include more women at every level, but don’t let a lack of women currently put you off – you do what you want to do!

As the only woman in a team of around 20, I feel supported and respected in all aspects of what I do and have made some life-long friends. It is a changing industry and one full of innovation and challenges for you to solve.

8. What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone thinking about doing a Degree Apprenticeship?

Apply for many, go and see the industries and places of work, try to speak to as many current and ex-apprentices as you can, and don’t worry if you don’t like it – you can always change your path.

Ensure you are happy with the commitment (usually 4+ years), and make sure you can physically get to the locations you need to – a driving license or reliable lift share is always helpful.

Manage your time well to cope with working, education and having a social life, and always try your hardest – you will get to where you want to go.

Visit WMG’s Degree Apprenticeships webpage to find out more.

See Chloe’s WeAreTechWomen profile here.