Meet Maddie – An Amazing Aerospace Engineering Apprentice


Ever wondered what it’s like to be a degree apprentice?  

Meet 2nd Year Aerospace Engineering apprentice Maddie, a talented engineer who works for GKN Aerospace and studies through UCW at the multi-million pound GKN Global Technology Centre (GTC).  

Maddie loves the fact that her classrooms are embedded into her workplace, saying: “this helps me to relate the content directly to my work and feels more like a real job. I feel like we are being treated more like a group of adults.” As with other UCW students, the class sizes at the GTC are smaller, meaning that teaching feels more personal.  

Maddie’s favourite part of studying at UCW is the wide range of experiences within her degree apprenticeship. She says: “I have had lots of hands on opportunities, learning how to weld and build up composite materials. I have also been learning about the theory of flight and the aerodynamics of aircraft shapes.  

UCW has helped Maddie to grow by teaching a wide variety of skills and then helping her to apply these directly in the workplace. Maddie commented: “The list of new skills will only get longer throughout my course, and I think it is helping to shape me into a brilliant engineer.”  

Talking about the lecturing staff at UCW, Maddie mentioned their helpfulness and real-world experience. “The lecturers at UCW are always happy to help, going over certain sections if you don’t understand, giving real life examples to help relate it back to work.” It’s not just the lecturers who have helped Maddie as well, she has had a positive experience with UCW’s dedicated HEART team as well: “UCW’s Heart team is just so lovely and is always there to listen.”  

Although it was hard to pick a favourite, Maddie’s preferred module is Fundamental Aerodynamics. This teaches students about the theory behind how a plane can fly. Maddie said: “I think the content really relates to why I wanted to study Aerospace Engineering in the first place. The module has also included learning how to use a simulation software which has given me another set of skills I can forward in my career.” 

A typical university day for Maddie consists of being in the Weston College classrooms at the GTC. Maddie has two, three-hour lectures per day. “These lectures not only help towards my degree but often help my workplace projects as my understanding of the aerospace industry grows. Within a lecture, there is time to ask questions, go over certain parts and work on projects with lots of different people from different companies.” These lectures tie in well to what Maddie is doing in her workplace. She is currently working on some CAM for optimisation of machining components

Looking towards the future, Maddie hopes to be a successful engineer, being part of a team and making a difference to the aerospace industry. “I hope to stay with GKN for a while, going forward and get a master’s degree. Another ambition I have is to travel, I want to see more of world while also working in different areas of engineering, finding which part I am most passionate in.” 

Maddie left us with one last review of UCW, she said: “UCW has been the backbone of all the opportunities I’ve had. They’ve constructed a brilliant course with a balance of university life and in work placements; I couldn’t be more grateful.” 

A big thanks to Maddie for speaking to us! If you are interested in engineering degree apprenticeships click here, if you want to see all of our degree apprenticeships click here.