IT DID not take long for Christina Bubb to realise that healthcare or childcare would not engineer the fulfilling career she wanted.
Now the 19-year-old is excelling in the welding and fabrication trade and won the best intermediate title at the Advertiser’s 2017 apprentice awards.
She has already passed two international welder coding qualifications a level that some in the business struggle to reach in a whole career.
And Christina hopes her experience will encourage other young people to think more widely about career options when they leave school.
The former Thrybergh Academy student said: “I did health and social care and went to college for about two months but didn’t really enjoy it. I couldn’t see myself being something like a midwife.
“I tried a childcare course but packed that in after two weeks. I couldn’t work with kids.
“From there, I got a temporary job but a friend’s dad said I should look for a career rather than dead end jobs.
“I’d enjoyed design and technology at school but I’d never thought about it as a career before. I was nervous coming into this but I really enjoy it now.
“I think you should just go for it if it’s something you want to do and you enjoy it.”
Christina, of Clifton, is now in the second year of a five-year apprenticeship through Rotherham College.
After a year of theory, she joined Brinsworth steel firm MTL Advanced for four days a week from September.
The company has 240 staff and contracts for rail, defence, construction, refuse, off-shore and other sectors. There are 11 apprentices with 20 more to start in September.
Christina said: “At first I was really nervous, but it wasn’t so bad because we started in the training room. I thought with me being one of the few girls that people might not take me seriously but they did.
“I’ve done a lot on armoured vehicles, TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding, graining down any spatter from the person before. I prefer being at work to college now.
“I would like to work in welding inspection, which is checking the work that’s been done for any cracks or defects.”
MTL training and engineering instructor Jason Bradder said: “Christina has done exceptionally well from the early stages.
“When we did the interviews, we could tell she had what it takes and from day one she has been great to work with. It’s a shame we can’t have a workshop full of Christinas.”
Anita Adams, MTL’s HR manager, said the new wave of modern apprentices was helping after a period where the lack of these opportunities had brought difficulties in recruiting experienced staff.
Anita, who nominated Christina for the Advertiser award, said: “She has come into a predominantly male-orientated environment and just got on with it.
“She is a steely character and instead of completing something she was getting nothing from, she changed her path and travelled to totally the other end of the spectrum in engineering.
“She is doing something she clearly has a natural talent for and is an advocate for females who are looking for a career in manufacturing.”