Rising star wins Welsh Apprentice of the Year award

Flintshire Raytheon UK apprentice recognised for hard work and dedication to engineering sector.

Millie Francis-Owen, an electric engineering apprentice, was awarded the Wales Engineering Rising Star Apprentice of the Year award for 2023.

The award, open to all apprentices currently undertaking an engineering apprenticeship within the manufacturing sector, celebrates apprentices who have excelled during their programme.

"It’s a fantastic feeling to just be nominated, let alone win such a prestigious award,” said Millie. “I’m so thankful for all the opportunities that Raytheon UK has provided me with and the support throughout my apprenticeship by my team. It was lovely to be able to travel down to Cardiff with my managers and colleagues to celebrate the achievements made by apprentices across Wales.”

Millie began her engineering career by participating in the RTX Quadcopter Challenge, an annual STEM competition run by Raytheon UK. Three years later, she now finds herself sitting on the Quadcopter Challenge Finals’ judging panel after becoming a fervent STEM ambassador for the company. She has also participated in Welsh and World Skills competitions, showcasing her ever-growing engineering skillsets.  

“A constant with Millie is her desire to develop and operate outside her comfort zone,” said Alex Rose-Parfitt, director of engineering at Raytheon UK. “Her rapid rise from competitor to judge in Quadcopter demonstrates her unyielding drive and perfectly encapsulates the Raytheon UK culture we aim to foster.”

Millie is now utilising her engineering skills to work on some of the UK’s most ambitious engineering projects, including work to provide the UK with next-generation intelligence capabilities for the next two decades.

Her award builds on a long heritage of achievement from Raytheon UK’s Broughton Manufacturing Operations Team, who within the last five years have employed multiple award-winning apprenticeships, including five ‘World Skills UK Apprentice Finalists’, one ‘World Skills UK Apprentice Bronze medallist’, one ‘Welsh Skills UK Apprentice' gold medallist and a ‘Made in Wales - Apprentice of the Year' winner.

Millie will now go on to represent Wales in the UK Final, with the winner being announced at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in January 2024.