Catching up with our NEAA Apprentice Award Winner for 2023, Lily Turner

Lily Turner, Maintenance Technician at Nissan was the Apprentice Award winner at the NEAA Annual Awards in 2023.

Her passion extends beyond her place of work, as a STEM and Apprenticeship Ambassador, and she commits to promoting the virtues of the vocational route she has chosen as well as a drive to encourage more females to consider a career in the automotive industry.

The NEAA caught up with Lily nearly a year later to see where her exciting career has taken her…

At the time of winning the Apprentice Award, you were based in the North East as a Maintenance Technician Apprentice – what have you done since then and has your role changed?

In the last year I have progressed into my final year of the maintenance apprenticeship. I have also moved into a maintenance new model team to work on developing new facilities. My roles and responsibilities within the shop have also increased. I’m looking forward to completing my apprenticeship and the new challenges I will face as a qualified maintenance technician at Nissan.

Apprenticeships provide hands-on training and also the chance to put your skills into practice. Can you explain the benefits of your apprenticeship?

My apprenticeship at Nissan has given me the opportunity to learn in a real working environment and gain valuable skills such as electrical and mechanical fault finding and how to safely work in a factory. Doing an apprenticeship has given me confidence in my ability to learn and adapt in a fast-paced manufacturing environment.

How has your apprenticeship developed you as a person?

I started my apprenticeship at Nissan when I was 18 years old, I have grown a lot during that time. I have had the opportunity to go straight from college into the workplace and I believe that has given me strong work ethic, drive and experience working in a team. As well as growing my confidence from a young age.

How has your career developed at Nissan since you started?

I have been at Nissan for 4 years now and my role has developed alongside the plant. Within my time here, Nissan Sunderland has committed to it’s EV36Zero strategy, becoming a fully electric manufacturing hub. Last November, Nissan announced the 3 new fully electrified models that will be built at the Sunderland Plant. This is incredibly exciting as now we can prepare and plan for our future models. For my career development this has given me the experience of adapting to change and forward planning. As I have progressed onto the new model team I look forward to seeing plans for new facilities become a reality and to see future Nissan models made here in Sunderland!

What do you enjoy about working in the automotive sector, and in particular Nissan?

I have always been interested in cars. One of my main interests is Formula 1 Racing, so getting to work in the automotive industry and understand the process of building a car is amazing. I enjoy that the industry is always changing and at Nissan we are always improving the ways we work and products that we build.

As a female in manufacturing and an ambassador for the automotive sector, can you tell us about some of the things you have done, and continue to do, to help inspire the next generation?

I enjoy speaking in schools and to young people about the opportunities and experiences that I’ve had during my apprenticeship. I like to highlight the advantages of doing an apprenticeship to hopefully inspire the younger generation to apply.

I am also involved in Nissan promotional videos and advertisements to help promote the apprenticeships and opportunities here at Nissan, as I like to show that women are also in the industry! I have had the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and to speak to him about the scheme, this involved news and radio interviews!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date was winning the Geoff Ford Apprentice Award! It really was a huge honour for me and inspired me to continue on with the work I do to towards apprenticeships! It’s helped me gain confidence in my own ability and helped me meet some amazing people!

Check out Lily’s video to hear more about working as an Apprentice at Nissan