Tsungi Maruta is a current British Airways engineer and former engineering apprentice. Tsungi works on aircraft maintenance for British Airways, where she helps to maintain their fleet of around 270 short and long-haul aircraft.
On International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8th March 2016) British Airways welcomed 60 female students from several West London schools to its Heathrow Engineering facility in an event aimed at inspiring the potential future female engineers. The students aged 14 to 16 met senior British Airways engineers including general manager engineering, Joanna James, short-haul engineering fleet chief, Helen McCarry and the airline’s director of engineering, Andy Kerswill. They also met several of the airline’s female engineering managers, mechanics, apprentices and graduates, including Tsungi.
Getting into engineering – it puts a smile on my face and makes me feel proud
I’ve always had a keen interest in aircraft and have always been passionate about them from a young age. When the BA apprenticeship came up it was an opportunity not to be missed.
I like getting involved with aircraft maintenance, the job satisfaction at the end of the night when aircraft leave the hangar and meet their service is very rewarding. I take pride in seeing the job done and aircraft leaving on time. It’s also nice to see aircraft I’ve worked on coming in to land or taking off. It puts a smile on my face and I feel very proud.
A very positive experience
Going into a male dominated environment can appear daunting but it’s actually been a very positive experience. The apprenticeship allowed me to gain experience in all areas, which I found very beneficial because it exposed me to different personalities, work and ways of working which all in all built up my confidence.
The guys I work with are very supportive and make me feel part of the team and I think my presence has had a positive impact on the men I work with too.
Advice for other girls and women
I definitely would recommend it as a career to girls. There’s no reason why you can’t become an engineer just because of your sex. I love my job and enjoy every bit of it. My passion is mine and no one can rob it from me.
I’d tell them to go for it and keep pushing. If the passion is there and you believe in yourself, then go for it. Dream, believe and achieve.
Enjoy every moment
I really enjoyed my apprentice years as I got to move around the business. That just opened up a world of possibilities to me. I feel very lucky to not only work on aircraft, but British Airways aircraft, and so I enjoy every moment. One of my favourite moments was watching our first 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 come in to land when we initially got them.
You can learn more about the BA Apprentice programme here.