Former student is first female mechanical engineer at Port of Liverpool

A FORMER student at Priestley College has become the first female mechanical engineer to enrol at the Port Of Liverpool.

Megan Pickering, who studied BTEC in Public Services at Priestley, has signed up for a four-year course at the Maritime and Engineering College North West in Birkenhead. The former Warrington sixth former said she was amazed by the port when she arrived.

“It’s not until you get on site and see the scale of activity that you realise just how much machinery is involved in the day-to-day operation of the port. It’s a very exciting prospect for a trainee engineer,” she said.

“The port is paying for an education I just couldn’t get anywhere else. Some people go to university and all they come out with is debt. I’m getting all of this and a livelihood – for free. I’m really proud to be here.”

Megan, 19, was required to pass tough aptitude tests and interviews in order to secure her place on the course.

Along with 11 other recruits, she will now work towards an NVQ3 in her third year and an HNC qualification in her fourth. All apprentices will develop skills in fabrication, welding, calibration and diagnostics, as well as report writing and problem solving.

Staff at the port work with tutors at the college to make sure the course teaches port skills and is technologically up-to-date.

Michael Southworth, Principal at Priestley College, said: “We are very proud of what Megan has achieved. At Priestley we aim to prepare students for life after sixth form in ways that best suit them and it is great to hear about Megan’s success.”

Megan, who is from Runcorn, could be working on major maritime projects within a few years.

Gary Hodgson, Peel Ports Mersey managing director, said: “Work is about to start on our £300million deep water container terminal, Liverpool 2, which will be operational in 2015.

“The terminal will generate in the region of 5,000 jobs over 20 years, which is great news for our apprentices.”

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