Finalists full biographies
Gemma is an Apprentice Network Engineer, working within the Solutions Validation team at Cisco. She has progressed from lab support to a testing role, in which she sets up replica networks, writes and executes test cases, produces documentation and works with customers to overcome issues. She has worked on several projects for high-profile financial institutions, including implementing a next generation wireless network, and performing a data centre upgrade to ensure future network stability and maintainability
Gemma has completed many of her apprenticeship exams ahead of schedule, allowing her to take on additional competency units, and setting a model example to her peers. As a peer assessor on Apprenticeship Assessment panels, Gemma has been encouraging for female candidates applying to the apprenticeship programme. She spends many evenings at schools and colleges speaking to students and their parents about the importance of technology and the career opportunities available.
Beyond work, Gemma enjoys playing the piano, baking and researching obscure topics. She has also been involved in a small project with friends to build a quadcopter.
Nadia Johnson is a Software Engineer Apprentice for Maritime Mission Systems Thales UK, working on SONAR processing. Her role involves programming and maintaining a thorough understanding of the systems that she works with. She has successfully introduced a new automated test system (based on Squish technology) to her department, even producing a set of videos showing how to use the technology on software-wide applications.
Nadia is a strong advocate for WISE (women in science, technology and engineering) within Thales. She is also a member of the Thales UK Apprentice Committee, giving apprentices a voice within the business. She has represented apprentices in one of the Thales CEO radio broadcasts and on several occasions, has met with a Committee of MPs from Education, Skills and the Economy which is looking at apprenticeships and their impact. Nadia also regularly presents at local schools on apprenticeships and women in engineering.
A love of astronomy, astrophysics and quantum physics has steered Nadia down the route she finds herself on today. She has been particularly influenced by theoretical physicist Dr Michio Kaku with his higher dimensional theories and analogies.
Bethan Murray is Manufacturing Systems Lead at Rolls-Royce Plc. She is responsible for Manufacturing Systems in two facilities which deliver outlet guide vanes and fan cases to the aerospace build line. She must ensure that the necessary capability is in place across the two facilities so that production runs seamlessly and has a positive impact on deliveries to the customer.
Bethan took up apprenticeship training with Rolls-Royce in 2012 and progressed to Manufacturing Process and Policy Engineer in Naval Nuclear Marine, before securing her current role. While working, she has achieved a distinction in a MSc in Engineering Business Management and become an accredited Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and ILM Level 3 Mentor.
Beth is a proud STEM ambassador. As part of the ‘Girls Engineering the Future’ scheme of work, she ran a STEM club for Year 9 and 10 girls focusing on renewable energy. She regularly visits schools as an ambassador for engineering and she was involved in delivering the Physics at Work event for schools at Cambridge University. In her spare time, Beth pursues dancing and wake-boarding.
Jenni Sidey is a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow at St Catharine’s College. Her research interests lie in experimental turbulent combustion, with a specialisation in flame visualisation, emission mitigation and fuel flexibility. Her current work is motivated by alternative fuel development and emission reduction in practical energy and transport devices.
Jenni completed her Ph.D. in 2015 at the University of Cambridge, as part of the Rolls-Royce University Gas Turbine Partnership in Combustion. Following her recent appointment to University Lecturer,she will teach a course on combustion as part of the M.Phil. in Energy Technologies and will supervise Thermofluids undergraduate students.
Jenni has developed and run numerous outreach activities aimed at encouraging women into engineering. In 2013, she co-founded an outreach group called Robogals Cambridge through which she designed and delivered robotics workshops to young people around the UK. She also has a keen interest in the history and philosophy of science and has played rugby in the top UK student and club leagues for three years.
Emma Wilding started on a Degree Apprenticeship within Vehicle Safety at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in 2012. She is part of a team responsible for the design, development and testing of both passive safety systems aimed at keeping the occupant safe in a vehicle collision, and active safety systems aimed at preventing the crash altogether. She has been involved in early product development, crash test planning and vehicle sign-off activities, as well as running her own crash tests on JLR prototype vehicles.
Emma is passionate about promoting apprenticeships and women in engineering. She was featured in the Telegraph Magazine as a 'Crash Test Smarty' and has worked on events promoting engineering, including working with Zara Phillips. She is a founding member of the Apprentice Forum within JLR and has been a finalist in local and national Apprentice of the Year awards.
In her spare time, she is a youth leader in her local community and has supported a school and orphanage in Mozambique.