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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Izzy makes the Wight decision

Izzy Bowles

Wight Building Materials apprentice urges more women to consider engineering careers

AN apprenticeship with Wight Building Materials has given 23-year-old Izzy Bowles a firm foundation on which to develop a career in engineering – and she is urging other women to consider careers in the traditionally male-dominated world of engineering.

The ‘learn-while-you-earn’ approach of apprenticeships has given Izzy a strong start to her career, with an apprenticeship in Business Administration leading to a works administrator role with the Isle of Wight-based company.

And Wight Building Materials have continued to support Izzy’s professional career by supporting her studies for a foundation science degree in Mineral Extractives Technology through the University of Derby.

‘When I was at school, I never thought I would be working in an environment where a hard hat and orange high-viz trousers were the norm, but the apprenticeship opened my eyes to the opportunities a career in engineering could offer,’ said Ms Bowles (pictured).

‘I had driven past the entrance to the quarry at Blackwater on the Isle of Wight so many times growing up but had never realized the scale of the operation the fact the materials manufactured and supplied from there are literally the building blocks of the future.

‘The apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to learn about the quarry business, from mineral extraction to the sales process, and the important role of restoring landscapes after quarrying to become either wildlife havens or areas for recreation that everyone can enjoy.

‘From this, I developed an interest in the mineral side of things and was so grateful to Wight Building Materials for giving me the chance to study with the University of Derby, which will give me an internationally recognized academic qualification.

‘Doing an apprenticeship was a great decision for me and I’d recommend it to others. Quarrying and engineering may not be a career path associated with woman, but there’s no reason that should be the case. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and think more woman should be looking to forge a career in engineering.’

Steve Burton, general manager at Wight Building Materials, said: ‘It is really important that we support our young people and work with them to develop their careers. Izzy is a great example of someone who has joined us through an apprenticeship, worked hard and shown a willingness to learn. It’s really rewarding to see her flourish within our industry, especially as a female in a traditionally male workplace.

‘We look forward to working with Izzy to progress her professional development and increase her knowledge of all aspects of our business from the operational and technical side of things, to the commercial and marketing aspects of the business, all of which will stand her in good stead for the future.’

Wight Building Materials are currently supporting two young people on mechanical and electrical apprenticeship schemes through Aggregate Industries. As part of the scheme, they travel to Leicester every six weeks for training towards professional qualifications. The current apprentices will complete their schemes in June and go into full-time roles at Wight Building Materials.

The company, which was created in 2013 as a joint venture between Eurovia and Aggregate Industries, is considering plans for further apprentice recruitment in the future.

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Submitted by Peter Gray (not verified) on

Having worked with Izzy she always showed great determination and resourcefulness. I’m sure this will be an exiting time for her, and confident that she will make a success of this opportunity. Well done to Steve, and Wight Building Materials for recognising her talents

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