Chelsea Griffin made history as the first woman to be awarded the “Apprenticeship Engineering Technician of the Year for 2014” at the Cofely Fabricom (GDF Suez) Apprentice and Technician Recognition Awards.
Chelsea's ambition was to follow a career as a craftsperson and her rise to success began a few years after she left school, when she decided to return to college to re-sit her math’s exams which she needed to complete her dream. She realized that as a woman and single mother things might be tough. Chelsea recounts: "At school and college they did not see females as part of engineering. I had no role models and until I started working no one was supporting me." Chelsea achieved the necessary grades at college and also identified her career path. She said "I knew I wanted a better career - one that was more physical and hands-on."
On leaving college Chelsea joined the leading engineering and project management firm, Cofely Fabricom GDF Suez, as a welding apprentice. Working in a predominantly male environment Chelsea overcame obstacles that her male counterparts simply did not have to contend with, one of which was the pressure to "prove herself."
At the end of her apprenticeship, Chelsea can now see the road she travelled much more clearly: "Cofely Fabricom provided me with a mentor and a sponsor to guide and train me, and with the additional support of the Resource Development team I have been able to progress and achieve my goal".
She clearly loves her job working as part of a team, and is currently engaged in pipework and fabrication modules on oil refineries in the Humber region. Chelsea has a steely determination to succeed and her advice to other women is "go for it" and "be brave and bold."
Yvonne Day, Resources and Development Director of Cofely Fabricom, herself a passionate champion of women in engineering, said in recognition of Chelsea's award last year.
"Chelsea is a worthy winner, who shows a pride, commitment and professionalism in everything she does and this whole event shows how our continued investment in training young people pays off."
"We need a new generation of talent entering the world of engineering and construction, and we are committed to making sure young people today get the opportunities they need to realise their full potential."