Graduate Apprentice Fatima engineers £100,000 savings for employer
Graduate Apprentice Fatima Asif has helped her employer to make £100,000 in savings – and wants to inspire women to become engineers.
Fatima, 20, was determined to break into the profession while at school and saw that a Graduate Apprenticeship was the perfect way to kick-start her career.
She works as a Continuous Improvement Engineer with complex manufacturer Plexus, where she mentors new apprentices - and her example even led brother Humza, 18, to successfully apply for a Graduate Apprenticeship at the company too.
Fatima's technical learning has led to her promoting and deploying a new way of recording process improvement opportunities, resulting in annual six-figure savings.
Fatima, of Livingston, said: “There was a sub-optimisation between operations on the shop floor so I set up a three-day process planning event to identify bottlenecks.
I wanted to study for a degree and build up my experience, and earning a salary while you learn is a big plus. The Graduate Apprenticeship has given me a real focus. I can see the path ahead of me, and that has motivated me even more.
Graduate Apprentice at Plexus
“The Graduate Apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity. I wanted to study for a degree and build up my experience, and earning a salary while you learn is a big plus.
“The Graduate Apprenticeship has given me a real focus. I can see the path ahead of me, and that has motivated me even more.”
Fatima is working at the firm in Kelso, Borders, on her Graduate Apprenticeship in Engineering (Design and Manufacture) through Heriot-Watt University.
Certification in a methodology for streamlining manufacturing gave her the confidence to lead improvement projects, and she cut a crucial seven minutes off one process cycle.
Fatima involves new Graduate Apprentices in projects and is part of the firm’s Woman in Network committee, championing females in the sector. She represents Plexus at careers fairs and took part in a tech talk to advocate for apprenticeships.
Plexus Senior Continuous Improvement Lead Douglas Turnbull said: “Graduate Apprentices bring what they learn at university into the workplace, using their knowledge to help find better ways of working.
“Where there is a business need or a skills gap we can train our Graduate Apprentices to fill that in the future. You see their strengths and mould them. Fatima has already made a significant contribution and is a real asset.”
Programme Director for the Engineering, Design and Manufacturing Degree (Mechanical) at Heriot Watt University Dr Odin du Plessis Love said: “Fatima is one of the top performing students in her year and is very proactive.”
Graduate Apprenticeships are a way to get qualified up to Masters degree level while in paid employment. Designed by education and employers, Graduate Apprenticeships are offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.
Fatima’s achievements led to her being a winner at the the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, in the Graduate Apprentice of the Year category sponsored by the Scottish Funding Council.