Burnley College apprentice nominated for prestigious award for her work with robots

A talented young apprentice from Burnley College has been nominated for the nation’s most prestigious engineering award for her work with robots.
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Themis at Burnley College Mechatronics Apprentice Bethany Cobb was over the moon when she learned she had seen off hundreds of competitors to secure a coveted place in the final of The Enginuity Skills Awards 2022.

The 27-year-old is half way through her four-year Level 3 Apprenticeship in Mechatronics, working at the Altham factory for international furniture manufacturer The Senator Group.

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Bethany, from Rawtenstall, is nominated for the Skills Innovation of the Year Award, which is specifically targeted to reward Apprentices who are excelling in their approach to work.

Burnley College apprentice Bethany CobbBurnley College apprentice Bethany Cobb
Burnley College apprentice Bethany Cobb

She said: “It was such a big shock when I found out I was a finalist in The Enginuity Skills Awards.

“It’s like the Oscars of engineering, and I’m over the moon to be nominated.

“Every day I enjoy my role so much it doesn’t feel like work.

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“The Apprenticeship training Themis at Burnley College provides is such a great avenue for career progression.

“There is so much to learn in mechatronics, I’m improving myself all the time.

“Themis has helped make apprenticeships a viable, rewarding career route for so many people.

“Burnley College have been really, really good - they have such a great relationship with employers. And earning a good wage while you learn is definitely one of the positives I’ve found by doing an Apprenticeship.”

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The Enginuity Awards celebrate the new generation of talented, driven, passionate and committed engineering apprentices across the UK who are “shaping the future”.

Bethany was cited as showing “intense passion and excitement for engineering” by judges, and has been invited to the glamorous awards ceremony which takes place in London in March.

Her route into an engineering apprenticeship was unusual because, before she began her apprenticeship, she did a 3D design degree at Manchester School of Art.

She said: “Growing up, I was surrounded by factories and former mills. They’ve always fascinated me, and I loved the aesthetic, which is why I did my degree.

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“But I got the chance to have a look around a working mill, and experienced first hand the vibe and energy that goes into actually making things.

“I had a look at different Apprenticeship schemes after I finished my degree, because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and Themis at Burnley College - in connection with Senator - had the best options for me.

“I’ve always been interested in building things, but before I started my apprenticeship, I focussed on creating art, rather than practical objects.

“Thanks to this Apprenticeship I can push myself further than I ever thought possible. Every day is a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge. Also, who wouldn’t want to work with robots?”

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The Senator Group, one of Europe’s most innovative and forward-thinking furniture designers and manufacturers, are passionate advocates for apprenticeships and have worked closely with Themis at Burnley College for a number of years.

Bethany is currently one of a number of Apprentices working at the state-of-the-art factory near Accrington, where she has been praised by her bosses and tutors alike for her attitude and work ethic.

She has played a key role in helping The Senator Group roll out its vision for the future and helped install six brand new state-of-the-art robots on site.

Tony Berry, The Senator Group Operations Director – Desking, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Bethany has been nominated for this prestigious award, which is fully deserved and testimony to her hard work.

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“Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to express and excel and we firmly believe that investing in and developing our apprentices is essential for our future success, Bethany is a perfect example of this by playing a pivotal role in the company’s transition to Industry 4.0.”

Mechatronics is the discipline of integrating electronic and mechanical engineering and includes everything from factory automation to robotics.

Burnley College has designated 2022 as the Year of the Apprentice. Head of Apprenticeships Hannah Cutler said: “Bethany always strives for 100% in every single area of her apprenticeship.

“She is a really driven individual who lets her passion for Engineering shine through.

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“And, above all, she’s an amazing person. Beth is very down to earth, highly engaging and has proved to be an incredible role model for everyone she works with.”

The Enginuity Skills Awards final is set to take place on March 17th.