A TEENAGE apprentice from Abingdon has been named as one of the top 50 women in engineering in the UK.

Melissa Chigubu, who only came to the UK from her native Zimbabwe seven years ago, has been given the accolade by the Women’s Engineering Society.

Her nomination was announced at the Women’s Engineering Society centenary dinner at the Waldorf Hotel in London in June and she received her award at a ceremony at the Royal Academy of Engineering earlier this month.

ALSO READ: Oxford house now bears permanent tribute to Bletchley Park codebreaker

The 19-year-old is a second year apprentice training with the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, based in Coventry.

She developed her love of hands-on engineering after being inspired by her uncles in Zimbabwe.

The teenager came to the UK in 2012 and was the first woman to complete the Foundation Gateway at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre.

She has been AMTC’s Apprentice of the Month three times and has become an enthusiastic advocate for women in engineering.

Paul Rowlett, managing director of the AMTC, said she embraced challenges and was passionate about encouraging others to do the same, particularly women.

ALSO READ: Cyclists join star names on list of inspirational women

He said: “Melissa is a talented and dedicated learner who strives to excel, demonstrating exceptional skills for her early career stage. Our training staff regard her competency portfolio as the best they have ever seen, and this accolade recognises her outstanding performance, professional behaviour and support of other learners.”

He added: “She is a strong advocate for women in engineering and in apprenticeships.

“She has been instrumental in activities that aim to encourage women to follow engineering career paths as well as to increase teacher and parent engagement by breaking down traditional stereotypes.”

ALSO READ: Women in science - 2 Oxford researchers share their stories

The Top 50 Women in Engineering accolade was founded by the Women’s Engineering Society in 2016, linked to International Women in Engineering Day.

It aims to address the skills shortage in engineering and highlight the discrepancy between men and women entering engineering and manufacturing.

The 2019 awards focused on current and former apprentices, as ​while women make up around 12 per cent of engineers in the UK, just over seven per cent of engineering apprentices are female.