Meet the Apprentice – Molly Shadforth

Meet the Apprentice – Molly Shadforth

Not wanting to be behind a desk, Molly has a technical apprenticeship with Caterpillar.

Tell us what you do

I’m a Mechanical Fitter Apprentice at Caterpillar, which is a bit more technical than a fitter on the line. I get to go into all aspects of the company. Most of the time it’s a bit of Research and Development too. When we get a new truck in a lot of the time we have to take things apart to see how they work and learn how to put various parts back together.

And what qualification will your Apprenticeship give you? 

I’m currently working towards my Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering with Caterpillar through Hartlepool College of Further Education.

Why was an apprenticeship the right choice for you?

I know everyone always says it but I can’t stress enough you’re earning while you’re learning and you’re getting to try out careers with a clear path of progression. Especially within Caterpillar.

What did your friends and family say about your apprenticeship?

It was always my dad and my brother who persuaded me into it because they come from engineering backgrounds. They always said that the industry was crying out for more women and how an engineering apprenticeship was such a good job to get into.

How do you enjoy being in the workplace and learning at the same time?

I love it. Caterpillar implement a rotational plan to learning. This gets me a look on all aspects of the factory. It’s funny because if I’m with my mentor and we go from one part of the factory to another, it’s strange how many people I walk past and say hello to. I know all of these people because I’ve worked alongside them in the different environments and I’ve been exposed to these different things.

What are the best and worst bits of your job?

If I’m being totally honest I like being on the shop floor. I like working with my hands. That’s why I took such an interest in the apprenticeship because I didn’t want to be sat behind a desk for the rest of my life.

What are your career plans?

When I come to the end of my apprenticeship, Caterpillar is likely to tell me about new opportunities that will be coming up.

Say there’s a team leader job available at the paint plant, just because I’ve worked as a mechanical fitter, doesn’t mean that I can’t move into that if I apply. If I changed my mind and thought I want to try something different I’m more than welcome to do that.

What would you say to someone else thinking about whether an apprenticeship might work for them?

I’m a bit of a preacher really. That’s why I like it when we get the opportunity to go to schools and speak to the young children and I think to be honest I am a bit biased and I do try to target the girls because I think it’s something that I never ever thought I would be doing.

If someone said to me three years ago that I’d be building trucks as a job, I would never have believed them. It’s something I really enjoy now and I think a lot of girls are put off from it for certain reasons. They might think it’s only for boys and it’s not the case.

I think of myself as a girly girl and I prove that you don’t have to be a tom boy to do it. When we go into schools I’m quite passionate about it because I believe everything I’m saying.