Highly commended in this year’s RailStaff Awards’ Apprentice of the Year category, you can read Annais’ story below…
“Joining the predominantly male-led rail industry as a 16-year-old apprentice in 2014, Annais Siddall has worked doubly hard to demonstrate her worth to all those around her – and she has truly succeeded!
With aspirations to study electrical engineering fresh from secondary school, Annais had difficulty finding a college that had received enough interest to provide the course that would facilitate her ambitions. Displaying dedication and initiative, she assumed her own research which led her to the discovery of Linbrooke’s apprenticeship programmes. Although her introduction to the trade was both demanding and daunting, often leaving her feeling overwhelmed, Annais stated that “at the beginning, I wanted to quit. Female engineers are very rare – particularly when they’re as tiny as me – and I did experience some bullying when I was on site. I had to work extra hard to prove my worth and show my fellow apprentices just how serious I was. Now in my final year, I am officially considered an integral part of my team.”
Employing initiative and undertaking an electrical training course in order to join Linbrooke as an Electrical Engineer Apprentice, Annais truly learned first-hand what is needed to achieve her goals. Laying a strong foundation, she is already learning how to become an exceptional leader. Continually displaying a positive and proactive example to others, she has encouraged her fellow apprentices to work together and eradicate both stigma and poor group dynamics. She stated that “Since starting my apprenticeship in September 2014, I have gained an enormous amount of confidence and a wide range of knowledge and skills. In spite of being the only female within my group, each day is an opportunity to strive to become better and teach others while I learn. It is an honour to me to do something I love while also serving as a role model for other young women who are also interested in following the same path”.
Even though Annais’ apprenticeship has had a number of trials thus far – including bullying from external sources – she has utilised her encounters as stepping stones to becoming a more effective student and worker. Determined to ensure her team continually performs well, her tutor, Tyrone, stated that “Annais is happy to help other students in classroom sessions and work collaboratively to complete tasks and problem-solve. She is an excellent listener, will take on-board advice when offered, and give it out when required. She is very comfortable as part of a group of students with differing values, opinions, and varying levels of experience” Her ability to teach and demonstrate is a direct result of her journey.
Unintentionally placing herself in the public eye, Annais has been a credit to the company, maintaining clear values and a continual attention to detail. Working seamlessly alongside her team at Paddington, she has contributed to Linbrooke’s subsequent client recognition. Network Rail’s Programme Manager, Simon Roberts said “congratulations to the Linbrooke team working on the PA/VA and CIS works at Paddington – this is a project being completed without drama and with a truly collective team focus.” This emphasises Annais’ ability to work seamlessly within a collaborative, group setting.
Taking pride in her work and the company name she bears, she has simultaneously developed the ability to provide direction to her peers while maintaining a quiet and refreshing humility. With passion for the industry and the role she plays, Annais is always the first apprentice to arrive on site and the last to leave. Already progressing in what is sure to be an exceptional career, she is a firm advocate of our apprenticeship programme, stating that “as a young, female apprentice in the rail industry, I am hugely excited to see Linbrooke embracing and recruiting even more apprentices in the future – both male and female. Currently in my final phase of training, I hope to be a part of developing this scheme still further after I graduate.”“