Savannha Gunnell, an engineering student at University College Isle of Man (UCM), is leading the way for young, female engineers in a vocational field that is often popular among men. Currently working at RLC-Ronaldsway, Savannha aspires to develop her programming abilities further and continue to advance in her career as an engineer.
Top of the class
Savannha is currently working towards her General Engineering (Level 5) at UCM and has previously completed the Foundation Apprenticeship, Manufacturing Engineering (BTEC Level 3) and Higher National Certificate in General Engineering (BTEC Level 4). As one of the few females studying on the course, Savannha has grafted to prove her ability in the workshop, “A huge personal accomplishment and highlight for me during my time at UCM was in my first year, when I won two awards, ‘Best Turner’ and ‘Best Overall Student of the Year’ in 2016”.
Following in her father’s footsteps
Savannha’s interest in engineering was sparked by her father, an engineer on the island, who encouraged her involvement from an early age, “My dad has been in the engineering world all his life, and when I was really young I would watch how he repaired his bikes and I would help by passing him his tools. It didn’t matter that I was a girl, he would always get me involved and that gradually developed into a genuine interest”.
Respectful working environment
UCM prides itself on providing a safe, creative, and respectful working environment for its students to benefit from, an important factor in Savannha’s decision to study at UCM, “I considered staying at school and doing my A-Levels, but I wanted to be treated like an adult and UCM allowed me to do all of the subjects that I enjoyed, in an environment that is a bit more grown up”.
Savannha also explained how her time at UCM has increased her confidence, “My tutors have always challenged me to carry out projects that I’m not particularly good at, like drawing and CAD (computer-aided design), and overtime I have grown to really enjoy them”.
Savannha is currently a Setter Operator at RLC-Ronaldsway, where she produces parts for Martin Baker, the world’s leading manufacturer of ejection seats for aviation. “I love my job! No two days are the same as there are more than 2000 different components that we can produce and some of the jobs are very complex. Sometimes I think to myself, ‘Wow, I just made the button to push an ejector seat! That’s amazing! ”.
As Savanah continues her studies at UCM, she is developing her skillset in programming and preparing for her future, “I want to get into programming full-time as it will allow me to combine two of my passions, art and engineering, but I need to improve my knowledge first. I am excited for the future! ”.
When asked if she would recommend UCM to others, Savannha said, “Absolutely, it has been amazing here; I have had really valuable apprenticeship opportunities and everything I’m learning has been transferable into the workplace”.
For more information on studying engineering at UCM, see here