A star apprentice at one of the region’s largest manufacturers has been named among the UK’s female engineering elite.

Eden McGlen, 19, of Whitburn, rubbed shoulders with some of the country’s most prominent women engineers as she was named at No.33 in the Top 50 Women in Engineering (WE50) campaign.

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) announced the fourth iteration of the list at an event in central London, providing each winner with a trophy marking their achievement.

The honour caps a run of success for Eden, who was recently invited to the House of Lords to discuss apprenticeships and highlight the career opportunities engineering provides for young women.

She said: “It was such a proud moment to be named alongside these amazing female engineering pioneers who are a real inspiration to me.

“Since becoming an apprentice at Unipres, I have had my eyes opened to a host of incredible experiences that includes meeting Prince William at the opening of the PROTO Building while promoting virtual reality training software, meeting Prince Phillip when I was runner-up in the Industrial Cadet of the Year awards and speaking at the House of Lords during National Apprenticeship Week.

“I had the opportunity to do a host of other things when I left school, but I always wanted to be an engineer and have never regretted my decision to come to Unipres. I would urge any young student or woman who might have discounted the profession as male-orientated to give it a go – it opens the door to some amazing experiences.”

WES’ aim for the awards is to increase its reach, profile and engagement to encourage young women into engineering, and the theme for this year’s Top 50 Women in Engineering was Current or Former Apprentices. The competition involved a public nominations process from which the top 50 were selected.

While women make up around 14% of engineers in the UK, just over 7% of engineering apprentices are female. Engineering apprenticeships provide an alternative route to a career in engineering and female engineering apprentices have the same access to career progression as those who have followed the degree route.

Sunderland car parts maker, Unipres UK, is an advocate for apprenticeships, launching the “Unipres Training Academy” in 2017, which is already producing qualified apprentices in its simulated manufacturing environment.

Maureen Askew, Senior Controller at the Unipres Training Academy and a member of the North East Apprentice Ambassador Network, said: “Unipres believes in apprenticeships and Eden is a superstar among a whole cohort of superstars we have working at the factory.

“It is fitting that she has been recongised for her hardwork and willingness to throw herself into the other areas of work that help promote women in engineering, apprenticeships and the pioneering work we do at Unipres.

“We are all incredibly proud of Eden being named among the Top 50 Women in Engineering. I hope her achievement acts as incentive for more young women to explore careers in manufacturing and engineering.”

Unipres is a global organisation, with a Sunderland base for almost 30 years. Employing 1,400 people, it is a Tier 1 supplier of car components to Nissan, Renault and Honda and leads the way in the network by growing the number of apprentices year on year.

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