Changing careers & being a female apprentice in STEM

Kayleigh Hunter, Access Planner Apprentice

September 1, 2018

My names Kayleigh Hunter and I’m an Access Planner Apprentice here at Virgin Media. I started my Engineering placement back in 2014. This was a major career change and was something completely out of my comfort zone – having come from a Health and Beauty background and working as a massage therapist/make-up artist for eight years.

I spent the majority of my adult life building my career within the Health and Beauty sector, becoming self-employed working alongside a leading Chiropractor in the country. However, I just felt like something was missing and I wanted something a bit more challenging.

The apprenticeship opportunity at Virgin Media completely changed my life. So many wonderful things have happened over the last four years. One of the best things about being an apprentice is the connections you make and the doors that can be opened for you through hard work and dedication.

Until recently, I was the only female apprentice in the Midlands, so I felt I had a bit of responsibility to live up to, but I took that and ran with it. As I was already in the spotlight as the only female on the team, I wanted to take the advantage and make something good of it, making those all-important connections and really showcasing what I could do. I’ve been given so many great opportunities such as meeting the Prime Minister, leading the Brathay Challenge and more. By far my biggest achievement so far has been winning the Institute Of Telecommunication Professionals Award for ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

These kinds of moments definitely reassure me that I made the best decision for me. I’ve never been a ‘what if’ person and I like to grasp every opportunity that comes my way with both hands.

I feel really fortunate to have the support of my family and partner and I really couldn’t thank them enough for their help throughout the entire process. I can honestly say not every day is great and there are challenges that present themselves which can make you doubt yourself, but the key is to not give up.

If I could give some advice to future candidates interested in joining Virgin Media as an apprentice, I would say – don’t let opportunities that present themselves pass you by, they may never come again. I live by the motto ‘if you don’t know how to do something, don’t worry, just accept it and learn as you do it’. What I would say to women about engineering is, don’t be afraid of a challenge, this is the future, do you not want to be a part of something great? It’s an incredible feeling knowing that I helped make change for the future generations and you can too.

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