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#NAW2021 Apprenticeship Case Study: Jess Faulkner, Engineering Degree Apprentice at GE Aviation


National Apprenticeship Week 2021

Gloucestershire College is a proud champion of apprenticeships. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we are showcasing success stories from our amazing apprentices and employers.

We caught up with 20-year-old Jess Faulkner, an Engineering Degree Apprentice at GE Aviation, who studied Mathematics, Physics and Computing at sixth form whilst working part-time and attending weekend courses to learn more about engineering. 

Jess is part of our Embedded Electronic Systems Design and Development Engineer Degree Apprenticeship here at Gloucestershire College.

Jess Faulkner, Engineering Degree Apprentice at GE Aviation

Why did you decide to do an engineering apprenticeship?

My passion for engineering was sparked by developments in technology; I love seeing new concepts being created and have always been interested in how things work and looking at better ways to do it. When I studied computing at GCSE level, I knew I wanted to be an engineer as I loved coding.

I chose to do an apprenticeship to gain experience whilst working towards achieving a degree. I heard how employers look for experience when hiring and usually, after university, your experience is limited. However, after an apprenticeship I’ll have years of experience and a degree! I also like the idea of being able to grow my professionalism in a safe environment where there are plenty of people to support my while I learn.

Tell us a bit about your apprenticeship.

One day a week I attend university and on the other four days I work alongside a team on engineering projects. I attend meetings to outline my tasks for the day, carry out technical work (either software or hardware) and have an opportunity to work on my personal development.

I love being able to apply skills I’ve learnt through my apprenticeship to the workplace. I am gaining so much experience and confidence in myself through working on real projects and working alongside experienced engineers. I feel so supported and there is always help when issues arise.

Before my apprenticeship I was shy and hated speaking in front of people but now I can give presentations confidently in work.

What do you want to do after completing your apprenticeship?

I would like to stay working in the engineering industry but haven’t yet decided whether I want to specialise in software, hardware or systems engineering. The beauty of an apprenticeship is that I can try them all out before I graduate!

I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship to others. The skills and professionalism you gain are so valuable, especially for people who prefer hands-on training. You also get to earn while you learn and be mentored by people who have been in the industry for 20+ years. It’s such an incredible opportunity to benefit from their knowledge while also bringing fresh ideas to the table and have real input into a project.

How would you rate your time training at GC so far?

I would rate the support and teaching at GC highly. I am supported and mentored every step of the way and my lecturers are always willing to give up their own time to help me until a problem is solved, on multiple occasions. This level of support and time would be uncommon at university. I have also received outstanding support from higher level apprentices at my workplace; they are always willing to support through modules and provide hints and tips on how we can achieve the best grades possible. GC also has an excellent library and allows me access to books from UWE Bristol when needed.


Apply to become an apprentice with Gloucestershire College

If Jess’ experience has inspired you to start a career in engineering, you can apply for our apprenticeship programmes online today. Click on the links below to apply online through our website or get in touch with our friendly apprenticeship team with any questions by emailing:



Watch our NEW engineering showcase video here.


West of England Institute of Technology (WEIoT)

We're a proud partner of WEIoT – a government-funded programme bringing together key academic and employer partners across the region, enabling us to specialise in higher-level technical training in STEM subjects.

Find out more here.


Recruit an apprentice for your business

We have talented, prospective apprentices apply to us all year round. Our Business Hub team can help your organisation to recruit an apprentice and match you with new talent to grow your business. Explore our range of programmes and contact our team via: or call: 01452 563400 to get the ball rolling.


Why Gloucestershire College?

We guide any ambitious and motivated person on their journey through education and their career, by providing the right environment that encourages and nurtures individual talents.

Our industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching team provide our students with the skills businesses truly need.

We are here to help

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90% of students would recommend GC and 95% said that the teaching on their course was good.

Ofsted has rated us good.

  • We offer industry relevant facilities
  • Our lecturers are passionate subject specialists
  • Employers value our students' skills

We'll look after you. We have dedicated teams to help you and a great Learning Mentor scheme.