Dancer Jess waltzes into career in heavy industry

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 21 Aug 2017

HAVING side-stepped a career in dance to work at an industrial power plant, Jess Pinder has become the first female to complete a national giant’s apprenticeship training programme.

The 20-year-old from Humberston quit dance school in favour of a career in process technology with PX Group at Stallingborough.

And while she may have ditched West End aspirations, she has been to Westminster – selected as a regional apprentice ambassador to meet with ministers.

​Jess has now permanently joined the PX team at the combined heat and power station, in the role of operations and maintenance support technician. The plant, which PX operates on behalf of Cristal, supplies power and steam to support the production of specialist titanium materials.

She said: “I loved dancing but it would have meant being away from home a lot and generally plenty of time between jobs so, having also been interested in chemistry, I went for industry over the arts.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship and am grateful for all the support I have had from colleagues. 

“I think the industry is ready for more female workers and PX is certainly encouraging that.”  

The regular Cleethorpes Dance Festival medallist specialised in ballet, but now it is about pipes rather than pirouettes. 

She also channelled her efforts into a regional panel to support National Women Into Engineering Day, which led to the capital call.

A growing energy and process industry specialist, PX – which operates and maintains ten high hazard facilities in the UK – has stepped up its commitment to training, employing more apprentices than at any time since being established in 2002. 

This year four have completed their apprenticeships, going on to be appointed into their first permanent roles, alongside nearly 500 colleagues across the country. Two more are continuing with their apprenticeships in engineering and process subjects and a further two have completed an initial apprenticeship and continued to a higher level. 

The company is also recruiting four apprentices across ICT, process and commercial disciplines.

North East Apprenticeship Champion and a consultant to the group, George Ritchie MBE, said: “Apprentices are the future of any business and so we want them to feel part of the team and understand the opportunities that are available to them. Jess has done incredibly well and is a real role model for women considering careers in industry.”

During her three-year apprenticeship she studied at the beacon training complex Catch, before joining the Stallingborough team to develop her operational knowledge, skills and understanding.

She has completed her Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Processing Industries Operations, studying subjects such as safety, health and environment, complex processing operations, heat and power and protection of the environment within processing industries.

On site Jess has delivered safe, environmental and statutory operations, preparing safety documentation, supervising contractors, contributing to maintenance and outage projects and data inputting onto plant systems.

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