Judith Mair, 21, who works for Rolls-Royce in Derby, received a standing ovation from more than 500 luminaries from the world of engineering – who hailed her meteoric rise to success. Mair also won the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award category.

She said: “I am humbled and honoured to be named Best of British Engineering. I don’t feel I deserve it because there are so many others out there who work hard for their companies. I am in shock.”

Mair left school uncertain of her future and possible career choices. Within three years, she has rapidly developed the necessary skills to successfully act as Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) site controller, demonstrating advanced competencies with an exceptional enthusiasm and commitment to learn and improve.

As a passionate ambassador of apprenticeships and engineering, Judith has volunteered at numerous Rolls-Royce Apprenticeship open evenings and Skills Festivals, hosted work-experience students, explained apprenticeships to scholarship students at the British Institute of NDT headquarters and represented the company at Parliament.

Mair added: “When I left school I didn’t know how broad and vast engineering was,” said Judith. “Wherever you are from I would really encourage you to go for it, there is always a new challenge around the corner in engineering. I would also like to thank everyone in Rolls-Royce, my family and friends for their amazing support as without it I wouldn’t have made it to here.”