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Electron beam welding ‘star of the future’ wins top IET prize for cost-saving manufacturing project

15 November 2017


The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has today announced the winner of its annual Apprentice of the Year Award, which recognises individuals who have made exceptional engineering contributions to their profession or operational area.

Magdalena Dyga, a Manufacturing Laboratory Technologist, was chosen as Apprentice of the Year from a shortlist of three for her outstanding work as a specialist science apprentice at Rolls Royce Plc.

  • Magdalena led several key projects and was a pivotal member of the team that achieved a 50% cycle time reduction and annual £160,00 cost saving in electron beam welding, a project that went on to win the company’s 2016 Lean Award.
  • She was the single point of contact for the facilities automated welding process and played a critical role in identifying and solving manufacturing bottlenecks to improve efficiency and business continuity.
  • As a keen STEM Ambassador she organises activity days at schools and colleges. Magdalena also promotes engineering apprenticeships at open evenings and skills festivals and acts as a buddy to new apprentices.
  • She has a BTEC Level 3 with double distinction* in Engineering and is currently studying a foundation degree in Materials Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. 

Magdalena received a prize consisting of a trophy, certificate, £1,000 and two years’ free IET membership.

IET President Nick Winser CBE said: “This is a fantastic achievement and Magdalena should be very proud to win this award against strong competition in her category.

“The standard of this year’s entries made the judging extremely difficult. All the IET Apprentice Award finalists demonstrated skills and knowledge through their work that went far beyond their roles. They have taken on challenging tasks and through innovation and determination to succeed have brought real benefits to their companies.”

Magdalena commented: “I am over the moon with this award from the IET. Being nominated was recognition enough but winning is unbelievable. It shows that working hard and applying yourself really does pay off.

"I chose an apprenticeship as a route into engineering for the opportunity to balance my studies with hands-on work experience and to gain knowledge directly from people working in the industry. Engineering allows you to be involved in innovation and making a difference to society. I hope this kind of award inspires more young people to choose engineering as a profession.”

The two other shortlisted candidates for the apprentice award were:

  • Andrew Heaton, a CE&I Design Technician at Sellafield Ltd. who contributed to the design of a control system for a new robotic manipulator system that can reduce and remove risk to human operators in high-hazard areas.
  • Wesley Washington, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering apprentice at Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH who was assigned the role of defining standard work instructions for the build process and organising the material kits for production tasks when the majority of the electron-microscopy production was transferred from Germany to Cambridge.

The Apprentice and Technician Awards are part of the IET’s Achievement Awards and Scholarships programme, which this year provided over £1million in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.

Notes to editors:

Find out more about the Awards on the IET Achievement Awards website.