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Tideway apprentice engineering her way to success

Budding engineer Fiona Keenaghan has told how she hopes to inspire other youngsters to follow careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) after being nominated for a prestigious award

Keenaghan, from Peckham, has been nominated for apprentice of the year in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET) annual awards, which celebrate individuals and organisations dedicated to increasing young people’s interest in STEM subjects.

The 20-year-old, who works as a civil engineering apprentice working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project while studying a BTEC in construction and the built environment at South Thames College, said: “My past year as an apprentice engineer at Thames Tideway Tunnel has been such an incredible experience - every day is different and it’s really proved to me how varied and exciting being an engineer can be.

“I want to do everything I can to inspire other students to consider a STEM career.” 

Scott Young, Education and Community Investment Executive at Thames Tideway Tunnel, said: “Fiona is always extremely enthusiastic in promoting engineering and construction careers to other young people.

“She is always happy to talk about her apprenticeship at STEM events, and to help us develop educational material.

“Fiona has also been vital in supporting our new apprentices and helping them learn from her experiences, and she fully deserves to be named apprentice of the year for her hard work and dedication.”

Winners in six award categories will be announced on 11 November at the STEMNET Awards Ceremony, which will be hosted by Lord Sainsbury of Turville at the House of Lords.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is offering each winner a trip to Switzerland to visit CERN, one of the most respected centres for scientific research.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major new sewer that will help tackle the problem of overflows from the capital’s Victorian sewers and will protect the tidal River Thames for at least the next 100 years or so. Main construction work on the 25km tunnel, from west to east London, is due to begin in 2016.

The project will create over 9,000 jobs, and Thames Tideway Tunnel has pledged that every 1 in 50 site workers will be an apprentice.

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