Meet Alexa Brunnock, who won Best in Category for Engineering at the PETA Apprentice of the Year Awards 2016

Alexa Brunnock

Congratulations to Alexa Brunnock, who won Best in Category for Engineering at the PETA Apprentice of the Year Awards 2016.

Alexa is currently undertaking an Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship at SMR Automotive Mirrors UK Ltd in Portchester.

As a design engineer in SMR’s exterior mirrors team, Alexa’s role involves providing support to project teams, updating data and documentation and the evaluation and testing of materials.

A major part of her role however is generating new ideas and designing and improving components. She has been doing this for the past ten months as part of the Volvo projects team where she has been involved in the design and development of mirror components.

Alexa chose the Apprenticeship route as she liked the idea of a vocational qualification and getting experience and knowledge passed on from skilled colleagues within the workplace.

During her Apprenticeship she has developed a competitor benchmarking procedure undertaking research into suitable tools and then generating the concept for SMR.  Following rigorous testing to ensure it performed as required, the procedure was rolled out across the company, not only in the UK but also in France and Spain. 

In addition to the specific projects, she has learnt a comprehensive range of engineering skills including the use of lathes, mills and drills, technical drawing, computer aided design, mechanical principles and fluid dynamics.

Alexa has also developed her communication and project management skills, the ability to multi task and she supports two placement students from Brunel University.  A personal achievement for Alexa is her new found ability to speak and present publicly, and at management level.  Due to personal reasons, Alexa didn’t think she would be able to communicate confidently, but her Apprenticeship has developed her to be able to do this. 

Graham Cooper from SMR said: "Each year we take on Graduate engineers for a one year placement from Brunel University, however although beneficial to the students, and to some extent SMR, we were continually in a training loop and not benefiting from year on year learning growth.  We decided to convert one of these placements to an Apprenticeship and Alexa was successful from a group of eight applicants and has shown through her enthusiasm and dedication that this was the right decision for SMR."

"Alexa has now demonstrated that not only is she able to support her own project team she has also taken on significant additional projects and delivered successfully.  Her contribution to the global success of the organisation is clearly shown with the advent of the Competitor Benchmarking Process that has now been launched and implemented.  I have received very positive comments from other European sites complementing SMR UK on the introduction of the new tool.

"Alexa approaches every new challenge with enthusiasm, she has excellent attention to detail and ability to multi task, and most importantly, a desire to learn.  She has put herself forward to take part in company improvement activities which has resulted in assembly and financial advancements.

Alexa said: "My Apprenticeship at SMR has introduced me to job roles I was unaware of, broadened my horizons and developed me from a teenager to a young adult.  I now want to complete my Higher Education and go on to be a Senior Design Engineer."

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