Thales Apprentice showing us all the Sky is the Limit

Bo Tyson

Last week (13th-18th November 2016) saw the latest cohort of apprentices take part in their second Outward Bound adventure in the Lake District. As their managers, peers, colleagues, and they themselves look forward to seeing what they achieve in the future, there are apprentices already leading the pack and demonstrating that the sky really is the limit when it comes to achieving success as an apprentice.

One such individual is Bronwyn ‘Bo’ Tyson; an engineering apprentice working in Thales’s Templecombe site in Somerset. Bo participated in the Outward Bound programme last year and says she found it extremely valuable in helping develop her confidence and resilience; since then she’s been working hard to prove that success has nothing to do with age, experience or position. In fact Bo has been taking the apprentice world by storm, winning award after award for her work, and proudly showing the world how much apprentices can achieve with a bit of hard work, determination and passion. Having been nominated for several categories in the Grow Somerset Talent Apprenticeship Awards, and winning the Advanced Apprenticeship Prize and the coveted Apprentice Champion of the Year Award in March this year, Bo is no stranger to the spotlight, and she has no intention of resting on her laurels. On 16th November Bo was again recognised for her outstanding work and attitude, and was awarded the runner up prize in the Association of Colleges, Apprentice of the Year Category, which is a national competition with thousands of entries every year. But despite all the recognition and accolades, Bo remains humble; ‘It’s a huge event, with loads of people and I kept thinking I don’t know why I’m here, but it was really amazing, and a really good night!’

Bo & John

In both instances it is her work as an ambassador for not only apprenticeships, but also engineering that has impressed judges. Bo is extremely passionate about spreading the word about STEM and the value of apprenticeships; she has worked with WISE to help promote women in engineering and with local schools to engage the engineers of tomorrow. She was recently invited to speak at a WISE conference, which she proudly accepted, despite her admitted dislike of public speaking, and without hesitation became an official STEM ambassador. But she says one of the most rewarding experiences she’d had has been working with young people, educating them around what engineering is and the careers available to them. She is particularly proud of an imagineering session she ran with a local primary school, where she supporting the children in learning how to solder, giving them an opportunity to engage with engineering in a way they wouldn’t normally be able to. Although sad she was unable to continue supporting them in this way, Bo states she was ‘immensely proud of them’ for how well they participated and what they achieved in such a short space of time.

By her own admittance Bo is not usually one for being the centre of attention, but it is her passion for the things she promotes: STEM, engineering in schools, Women in Engineering, and apprenticeships, that enable her to move past her fears about public speaking or attending high profile events, because she knows what she’s involved in is important. She’s also found that her recent experiences have actually helped her uncover her own confidence; ‘it’s really helped a lot with my confidence, I get to network with other apprentices who are in the same boat, and it’s definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone which is a good thing because it’s helped me recognise what I’m good at and start to use that to push myself even further.’

Considering the fact that before starting her apprenticeship Bo had never really been aware of engineering as a career or what the discipline entailed, it’s inspiring to see how far she’s come in such a short space of time. Her efforts to raise awareness of these issues, and her recognition for this has even resulted in her being invited to a consultation in the Houses of Parliament in the coming weeks, where she will be asked to offer input on how she thinks engineering can be better taught in schools and generally promoted as a career option. But despite all this, Bo’s one wish for the future is that any of the children she’s worked with will one day take up career in engineering, and that it may have been her input that helped them make that choice.

To read more about Bo’s incredible journey so far please see the links below:

Meet some of Thales’s Pioneering Female Engineers

Templecombe Apprentice in her Element in Maritime Role

Yeovil College News: Grow Somerset Talent Apprenticeship Awards

Association of Colleges Student of the Year Awards