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Engineering Apprentice to Teacher

Eden picking up her award at the National Awards Evening

Eden McGlen, the Advanced Apprentice of the Year, is grateful to Unipres (UK) and Hartlepool College of Further Education for the incredible support she received at the start of her working life.

Now, aged 22, and has completed a four-year apprenticeship last summer, Eden is proud to be using everything she experienced during that time to help those thinking of following her on a similar path. Having served her time as a Level 3 Engineering Maintenance Technician at Unipres’ Sunderland plant after embarking on post-16 education, Eden is now employed as a Tutor Assessor there.

She is mentoring the 12-strong cohort of apprentices currently travelling down the A19 on a daily basis to learn their trade at Hartlepool College, which Ofsted rates as “outstanding” for its apprenticeship provision.  

Eden is also teaching Lean Manufacturing Operative Apprentices once a week and is looking to teach Level 2 Maintenance Engineering because she wants to keep developing in 2022. Little wonder she was named as the North-East Regional Advanced Apprentice of the Year

2021 before being awarded Highly Commended in the same category at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2021 for her achievements.

Eden said: “I am very grateful to Hartlepool College and Unipres for giving me the help throughout my apprenticeship and that was a massive part of me winning those awards. I have great memories too. As well as the awards, I’ll remember meeting Prince Charles when I was a finalist in the Industrial Cadets of the Year at the start of my apprenticeship and I met Prince William at the opening of PROTO Building in Gateshead when I demonstrated our virtual crane to him. Now, since starting full-time in September and studying for my teaching qualification too, it is my job to tutor and teach. I really enjoy it.”

Like the current cohort at Hartlepool College, Eden used to travel wearing the recognisable blue Unipres overalls on a mini-bus daily to learn. After successfully applying for a maintenance apprenticeship in 2017, her first year after leaving school was all practical. She worked on application, welding, bench-fitting, machining, electrical maintenance, electrical installation and mechanical maintenance. From there she was recognised by Hartlepool College’s Board of Governors with an award for attitude and approach as well as being named in the Top 50 Women in Engineering in the UK in 2019 for the category Current and Former Apprentices.

At the Regional Apprenticeship Awards this year she was also given the inaugural Mike Wade Trophy, handed to someone who is believed to have made a difference to the region.   Eden, who initially fancied engineering because her mum’s cousin was a design engineer, is also an ambassador for the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) as part of the North-East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network as well as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador.  

She said: “I am in this area and I want to promote apprenticeships for future generations to companies that don’t have any or haven’t thought about them before. We can go to schools, careers fairs … I really don’t think enough people know about how good they are. I didn’t know about them when I was at school. The feedback has been really good and hopefully I can help to make a difference.”


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