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Amelia Nicholas - Engineering Design and Draughtsperson Apprenticeship

I’m Amelia, a Naval Engineering Apprentice, currently in my second year of my apprenticeship.

Amelia Nicholas

I joined BMT in September 2020, after completing A-levels in Product Design and Level 3 Engineering. Due to COVID I started my apprenticeship remotely, although this was daunting, everyone I spoke to was friendly, supportive, and made me feel welcome and included.

What does your job entail?

My job involves supporting colleagues on tasks and projects by producing engineering deliverables to help develop my CAD and 3D modelling skills.

I’ve had the opportunity to work on two A&A (Alteration & Additions) projects for In-Service Submarines where I was required to produce and edit CAD drawings.

I’m currently working on a Major Ship Design Bid, and I’ve been tasked with completing key plans and layouts. This project has been a real eye opener to Naval Engineering and Architecture, and I’ve learnt a huge amount of information. The range of work has increased my knowledge, and it’s allowing me to learn and develop new skills every day.

I’ve had the chance to participate in a range of work-based training including Technical Report Writing, Power & Propulsion, Auxiliary Systems, and a Submarine Design Course. The Submarine Design Course is run by BMT employees and is a weeklong training course which looks in depth at how Submarines operate, design features, issues, and key considerations.

The Global Graduate and Apprenticeship Programme includes a range of modules which so far has helped me learn and develop skills in Consulting, Communication, Interpersonal and Project Management. The programme is great at allowing Graduates and Apprentices from different countries to connect and virtually meet one another.

As an apprentice it involves day release to college to gain a HNC and HND qualification in General Engineering. This allows me to gain qualifications…while working and earning!

In the first year of my apprenticeship, I completed a Level 2 NVQ PEO qualification at college. Where I used hand fitting tools to produce a Bevel Gauge, Chain Extractor and Centre Finder. I then machined individual parts on a Lathe and Milling Machine and once assembled, it made a Steam Engine. Although at BMT we don’t physically manufacture items, it was good to gain understanding on different materials, machinery and how things are put together.

What is a typical day like?

Currently, a typically day for me is waking up and logging on from home. However, now that restrictions have eased, I’m starting to go into the office once a week. I currently have a lot of AutoCAD work, so I spend most of my day using the software to produce drawings for the project I’m working on.

Favourite memory from work?

My favourite memory from work so far is visiting RFA Fort Victoria in Devonport. This was my first ever Ship Visit and it was an incredible experience! There are lots of opportunities for Ship or Submarine visits to help aid projects. By visiting and seeing everything in person it really helps to understand the drawings and why the design of compartments is so important.

The work socials at the pub are always enjoyable! Joining at such a difficult time there wasn’t any opportunity to meet everyone face to face. When restrictions lifted, pub socials were organised, and it was great to finally put names and voices to faces!!


Amelia Nicholas 2

What do you like most about your job and the culture at BMT?

What I like most about BMT is that everyone is there to support you. As an apprentice you’re still learning every day and being surrounded by supportive employees it truly helps you to learn and develop skills, knowledge and understanding of new topics. If I have any questions or struggling with any work, there’s always someone willing to help, no matter how silly the question may be!

Being part of the Technical Women’s Forum without a doubt makes me feel included and reminds myself that I’m not alone. The forum brings Technical Women together from across the business and we have meetings to discuss aims and objectives in key areas such as recruitment, STEM, equality and belonging.


I started to consider a career in Engineering when I was around 14 years old, after attending a Women in Engineering Day at a local University. It made me realise that Engineering doesn’t just mean spanners, screwdrivers and getting dirty! Engineering offers huge amounts of creativity, problem solving, teamwork and innovation while being exciting and interesting. The gender bias within Engineering didn’t stop me from pursuing a career within the industry. At times it’s been challenging, being the only female in lessons at sixth form and college, but I’ve never given up. If any young females are considering an Engineering route…I’d say, GO FOR IT!

An apprenticeship route is massively worth it. You earn while learning, and gain so many life skills, and experience by working on real-life projects. The apprenticeship with BMT so far has given me the chance to learn, develop and gain more experience within the industry of Naval Engineering/Architecture. I’m looking forward to progressing through the rest of my apprenticeship with BMT!

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