PepsiCo: Emma McCoy - Careers case study

Emma McCoy is an Engineering Apprentice at PepsiCo

Emma McCoyEmma McCoy, 18, is an Engineering Apprentice at PepsiCo's factory site in Peterlee – producing crisps for the iconic Walkers brand including Sensations, Wotsits and Walkers Extra Crunchy. Emma is in the first year of a four-year apprenticeship programme and studies at Hartlepool College of Further Education: dividing her time between college and getting 'on the job' experience with Walkers. In her first year she is working towards a Level 2 NVQ and 3 BTEC diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. During her subsequent years she will be working towards a Level NVQ and HNC in Electrical Engineering. These qualifications will equip her with the skills she needs to build a career as a fully trained multi-skilled engineer.

Emma enjoys the combination of studying and working: “The best part of my apprenticeship is that it mixes the theoretical and practical. In the classroom, I learn about systems like pneumatics and hydraulic, then in the factory I get to see how these work up close by fixing and maintaining the machines. I'm earning while I'm learning!”

Emma started working at the Walkers site in the role of multi-skilled apprentice engineer, and will specialise in electrical and maintenance. The Walkers site is close to where Emma lives and went to school. It was at school that her passion for engineering began.

She said: “I entered lots of science competitions at school and was one of only three girls in my year interested in engineering. I do think STEM subjects are becoming more popular with girls, but it's up to all of us to spread the word that these careers are not just for the boys! There is a real opportunity for us to reach the top in STEM career. In fact, I recently went back to my old school to talk to the girls about my experiences in engineering and they were amazed to hear that half of PepsiCo's sites across the UK are now run by women.”

Discussing her experiences to date, Emma said: “Every day I am gaining the skills I need to work in the industry. I am an apprentice at the moment but, when I finish the programme I hope to progress into a managerial role. In the holidays I actually choose to work in the factory rather than take time off - it's great to be building my experience at such a well-known company and its been a brilliant place to start my career.”

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Last reviewed: 22 Jun 2014