Alicia wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but an apprenticeship at the RNLI helped her find her passion building a lifeboat station!
I'm Alicia Clifford, and I am an Estates Engineer for the RNLI.
I don't think that I followed a typical route into engineering, and I wasn't one of those people that knew outright from the beginning that's what I wanted to do with my life.
I was very unsure and I spent quite a lot of time floating around different options, doing lots of work experience with different careers, different jobs, trying to speak to people because nothing was really jumping out saying, pick me and you should do this as a career.
But I did end up doing my A Levels with 3 sciences, English and maths. So I kind of fell into the STEM route quite quickly.
When an opportunity to do an engineering apprenticeship kind of came up to apply for, I thought I should go for it, and that was kind of how I got into it. So I did kind of fall into it, but it has worked out for the best.
I think if you are struggling and you're lost and you don't really know what you want to do - or you don't know which path to follow, just go and talk to people and ask them lots of questions.
Go and try things. Go and seek out work experience, go and speak to people and just find something that does take you interest.
If you enjoy it, then go for it. Don't do what people tell you to do, just do what is your gut instinct that makes you happy, and you enjoy doing.
The most interesting project I worked on was having the opportunity to start a new project from scratch, where we needed to build a new lifeboat station.
The boat was changing from a smaller boat to a bigger boat, and the station was just not big enough to be able to fit it anymore. It was quite a challenging project though, because there were so many different variables that we had to problem solve to make happen and make everyone feel like their interests were being met.
There was so many different stakeholders involved that we had to kind of put all the different pieces together of the puzzle, and put them together to make it all work.
There was just so many different factors, so that was a really exciting project to be able to negotiate and liaise with different people and all while trying to design and engineer this amazing building.
The facility was going to help people save lives at sea, which is just such a rewarding thing to kind of put together and work towards, so it was really exciting.
If I was talking to my younger self, I'd say to not be scared of trying things, to follow my gut and go and just give it a go - because nobody can tell you off for giving it a go.
You'll only find out whether you like something or if you don't like something, if you try and find out.