A TRAILBLAZING teen from Ayrshire is paving the way for women wishing to pursue a career in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Kirsty Smith, 18, combines working as a full time technical officer and engineer at the Ayrshire Roads Alliance with studying for a BEng Honours degree, having earned a place on the University of the West of Scotland’s Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) in Civil Engineering.

The successful teen is now earning valuable, practical experience and learning on the job.

Kirsty said: “The University of the West of Scotland’s Graduate Apprenticeship links directly to my day-to-day work and the knowledge I am gaining at university is allowing me to take on more complex and challenging projects at work.

“I would recommend GAs to anyone.

“It is hard work and takes commitment but the mix of work based and classroom learning is perfect.

“I can apply what I am learning straight away at work.

“I feel lucky to work for the Ayrshire Roads Alliance and to pursue a career in my chosen field of Civil Engineering.

“I am, and always have been, encouraged to succeed at work and I know that my line manager and colleagues are proud of my achievements.”

Kirsty is a key member of the Design team at the Ayrshire Roads Alliance which focuses its work on the management of bridges across East and South Ayrshire.

Kevin Braidwood, Interim Head of Roads at Ayrshire Roads Alliance, said: “Until quite recently, a career in Civil Engineering tended to attract more men than women, but this is changing and young women like Kirsty are inspiring others to study STEM subjects.

“Last year we held an event at Gauchalland Depot for all secondary schools in East and South Ayrshire.

“Young people attended the event to learn more about a career within the Alliance.

“Kirsty took time to speak to the young people about her career path and her aspirations.

“It was great for them to see that our young apprentices have been encouraged to achieve by their managers and colleagues.”


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