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photo showing apprentice Izzy Bowles with hard hat, fluorescent jacket and clipboard in hand with machinery and materials in the background

Wight Building Materials apprentice urges more women to consider engineering careers

An apprenticeship with Wight Building Materials has given 23-year-old Izzy Bowles from Godshill a firm foundation on which to develop a career in engineering – and she is urging other women to consider careers in the traditionally male dominated world of engineering.

The ‘learn while you earn’ approach of apprenticeships has given Izzy a strong start to her career, with an apprenticeship in Business Administration leading to a works administrator role with the company.

And Wight Building Materials has continued to support Izzy’s professional by supporting her to study for a foundation science degree in Mineral Extractives Technology through the University of Derby.

“When I was at school I never thought I would be working in an environment where a hard hat and orange high-viz trousers were the norm, but the apprenticeship opened my eyes to the opportunities a career in engineering could offer,” said Izzy. 

“I had driven past the entrance to the quarry at Blackwater so many times growing up but had never realised the scale of the operation there and the fact the materials manufactured and supplied from there are literally the building blocks of the future.

“The apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to learn about the quarry business, from the sales process to the mineral extraction and the important role of restoring landscapes after quarrying to become either wildlife havens or areas for recreation that everyone can enjoy.

“From this I developed an interest in the mineral side of things and was so grateful to Wight Building Materials for giving me the chance to study with the University of Derby which will give me an internationally recognised academic qualification.

“Doing an apprenticeship was a great decision for me and I’d recommend it to others. Quarrying and engineering may not be a career path associated with woman but there’s no reason that should be the case. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and I think more woman should be looking to forge a career in engineering.”

Steve Burton general manager at Wight Building Materials said: “It is really important that we support our young people and work with them to develop their careers. Izzy is a great example of someone who has joined us through an apprenticeship, worked hard and shown a willingness to learn. It is really rewarding to see her flourish within our industry, especially as a female in a traditionally male workplace.

“We look forward to working with Izzy to progress her professional development and increase her knowledge of all aspects of our business from the operational and technical side of things to the commercial and marketing aspects of the business, all of which will stand her in good stead for the future.”

Wight Building Materials is currently supporting two young people on mechanical and electrical apprenticeship schemes through Aggregate Industries. As part of the scheme they travel to Leicester every six weeks for training towards professional qualifications. The current apprentices will complete their schemes in June and go into full time roles at Wight Building Materials. The company is considering plans for further apprentice recruitment in the future.