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Greeting opportunities with open arms

People of the Thames

On Women in Engineering Day (23 June 2021), Rosie Arrowsmith, a Port of London Authority (PLA) marine engineering apprentice, has advice for young women considering their career options.

River beginnings

“I was born in Erith, so I’ve always been near the river.

“I love that the Thames is right on my doorstep.

“I have sailed from a young age and am a member of Erith Yacht Club, which is based just above Crayfordness.

“As a child, we often went on family trips to Greenwich, so I know that part of the river well too.

“One of my favourite stretches of the river, is at Richmond Lock, just past Kew Bridge. It’s so peaceful but there’s lots to see.”

Engineer inspired

“My dad was the one who got me interested in cars and engines.

“Once I realised boats can have engines, I knew I wanted to study Marine Engineering.

“Later this year, I’ll be a fully qualified engineer.

“One life hack I’ve learned would be, that each ring spanner has a different mould, so you can use one and swap to another for a better angle.

“Also, a lick of paint should never be underestimated, with how it can transform a project.

"In ten years’, perhaps I’d like to move into a management role, but still with plenty of time on the tools.

“It’s so important for women to be given the same opportunities as men.

“Women are able to offer a different range of skills and outlook on jobs, compared to male counterparts.

“My engineering hero is Isambard Kingdom Brunel, due to his immense prowess he was able to build a variety of dockyards, bridges and tunnels, the Great Western Railway and the SS Great Britain. What isn’t there to be inspired by?”

PLA progress

“I started at the PLA in 2017, after leaving school.

“An apprenticeship is the perfect pathway for any school leaver wishing to be apart of the engineering industry.

“Lockdown was initially a real challenge due to the lack of practical work I could do, but I soon realised it gave me the perfect chance to get ahead on my theory course work.

“The best advice I could give to my younger self would be to take every opportunity that is presented to you with open arms.

“My stand-out moment at the PLA would have to be learning how to walk in heels, with the assistance of one of the engineering technicians, a day before the premiere of a video I was part of.

“My colleagues would say I’m hard-working, determined and fun. I’m working on honing my skills and gaining confidence.

“I love being able to do a variety of engineering disciplines in a week, or even a day!

“Going to college, and working at the PLA, I love meeting different people who all have the same interest in engineering I do.

“To future PLA apprentices: the hard work is so worth it. Stick with it and it will fly by.”

Quick fire:

What’s one thing you became better at over lockdown?

Zoom meetings!

Favourite band?


Next holiday destination?

Wales or Cornwall, not sure yet.

One thing that’s always in your fridge?


Also read: 

More apprentices heading to the tidal Thames

People of the Thames Telling the stories of the river.