Chadderton apprentice Ellie is blazing a trail for International Women’s Day and Careers Week

Date published: 04 March 2024

The first female apprentice in a shopfloor role at locally-based Hill’s Panel Products (HPP), Ellie Shepherd, has been chosen to fly the flag for women at work for International Women’s Day and National Careers Week.

Teenager Ellie, who is doing her Level 2 Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship with HPP, is one of 25 young women from all over the UK chosen for the ‘Apprenticeship A-Z of Women at Work’, where she features as ‘F for furniture maker’.

The A-Z is a series of flashcards and case studies being sent to schools and colleges to help inspire the next generation of apprentices as well as mark International Women’s Day on Friday (March 8) and National Careers Week, which starts today (Monday).

It has been compiled by Amazing Apprenticeships, a leading organisation in the in the education sector, working with schools, colleges and employers, tackling misconceptions and promoting the benefits of apprenticeships and technical education.

Ellie first came to the attention of Amazing Apprenticeships when she shared her story about having a double motivation to do well in her job - showing what girls can achieve in a manufacturing industry while proving a point in the process.

That was after she had decided to pursue a manual apprenticeship on seeing her 19-year-old brother Sam working as a cabinet maker - and she was even more determined when her decision met with scepticism in some quarters.

Ellie said: “I was told I should think about working in a pharmacy, or some kind of work like that.

"But when I saw what my brother was doing, I said that’s what I wanted to do, and even though people said I wouldn’t be able to, I said I was going to prove everybody wrong, and I am doing!

“I love my job and the responsibilities I’m being given at work are growing all the time.

"I’m buzzing to think that what I’m doing now could encourage other young women to do what I’ve done.”

Ellie, who lives in Chadderton, is a former pupil at the Co-op Academy in Failsworth and left school with six GCSEs.

She started her apprenticeship at another Oldham-based business, before joining HPP, which manufactures and supplies board, doors, fittings and accessories to the fitted kitchen and bedroom industry, last summer.

She is due to finish her studies later this year.

Amazing Apprenticeships founder and CEO, Dr Anna Morrison CBE, said: “To create the ‘Apprenticeship A-Z of Women at Work’ we have trawled the length and breadth of the apprenticeship world to discover 25 unique, confident and amazing female apprentices who are working in a fantastic range of different job roles.

“But aren’t there 26 letters in the alphabet?

"Yes, there are - but the letter X has been filled by ‘X marks your apprenticeship spot’!

"We want everyone involved to spread the word about this inspiring resource and the huge breadth of opportunities for women that it promotes.”

International Women’s Day and National Careers Week

International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 each year and is an important moment to engage and inspire females to see the huge breadth of opportunity available to them through apprenticeships.

National Careers Week runs from March 4-9, 2024 and is a one-week celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK.

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