KNUTSFORD firm Packaging Automation is championing girls in engineering.

Engineering apprentices are a valuable part of Packaging Automation’s (PA) business, with the firm investing time and effort in developing young individuals with aspirations to achieve while gaining a qualification.

During the annual recruitment process each year PA notices the small number of girls who apply for engineering apprenticeship roles.

PA recently opened its 2019 engineering apprenticeship scheme to new applicants, and was disappointed to see that out of more than 30 applicants only two girls applied.

PA is keen to champion girls in engineering, and believes there is not enough female role models in the industry and more needs to be done in schools and with parents to educate about the many jobs it covers.

Packaging Automation Ltd is a leading UK manufacturer of tray sealing and pot filling and sealing machinery for a range of applications in the food industry.

It is a third-generation family business with more than 125 employees.

Tanya Westenraad is an example of how girls can have a successful career in engineering.

Her journey started when she joined PA as a mechanical design engineer apprentice at the age of 18.

PA supported Tanya through her training, she completed her degree in Mechanical Engineering and is now the design team leader with responsibility for new machine designs.

Tanya said: “In this day and age it’s fantastic that women can be a part of engineering.

“I completed a four-year (AMEA) Advanced Modern Engineering Apprenticeship with PA, and was very fortunate to be supported by the company to complete a four-year part time B.ENG (Hons) Degree in Mechanical Engineering after that.

“Working while learning really helped to apply the theory in reality, gaining experience at the same time.

“I could not recommend it enough for anyone considering engineering as a job, to have the support and training of qualified people is a fun and fantastic learning environment.”

The firm has trained more than 100 apprentices since the scheme started over 30 years ago, with former apprentices now holding director, management and team leader roles in the business today.

It is hoping to see more girls during the application process next year.

For more information about the firm’s apprenticeship schemes contact Dorothy Wainscott at