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Savannha Gunnell, embracing opportunities and breaking stereotypes in Engineering

Savannha Gunnell, a lecturer at the University College of Isle of Man (UCM), traces her journey into engineering back to her childhood. Raised in an environment teeming with engineering enthusiasm, her story showcases embracing opportunities, breaking stereotypes, and contributing to the vibrant engineering community of the Isle of Man.

Early Exposure and Apprenticeship:

Growing up with an engineer father ignited Savannha's curiosity for the field. “I've always been into engineering, my Dad was an engineer, so while I was growing up he would ask me to help out on his motorbikes, building things, taking things apart and things progressed from there.” Her engagement with motorbike projects and hands-on experiences laid the foundation. Opting for an apprenticeship after completing her GCSEs in engineering at Castle Rushen High School, Savannah delved into practical techniques and real-world scenarios. Work experiences at prominent companies like Strix, Ronaldsway Aircraft Company and Triumph provided invaluable insights.

Educational Journey at UCM:

Savannha's educational pursuit at the University College of Isle of Man (UCM) involved completing level three, level four, and level five qualifications in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. While she pursued a degree with the University of Portsmouth, the distance learning arrangement allowed her to remain on the Island, working full-time alongside her studies. Once graduated Savannha decided to remain in the Isle of Man explaining “With having a degree I knew I could go anywhere, however I chose the Isle of Man because it feels like a family and everyone in the manufacturing industry are a really nice team. There are all really lovely people to work with and I couldn't imagine myself working anywhere or alongside anyone else really.”

Practical Wisdom from Ronaldsway:

Spending six years at Ronaldsway Aircraft Company, Savannha transitioned from the shop floor to the manufacturing office. “I worked at Ronaldsway for six years and it was where I learned all my practical knowledge.  I worked on the shop floor and I built up my experience setting up operating machines, and was then lucky enough to go into the manufacturing office where I wrote programs and learned how to program machines that ran Martin Baker components.” This hands-on experience equipped Savannha with practical knowledge, a testament to the Isle of Man's thriving engineering sector.

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Thriving in a Male-Dominated Environment:

Addressing the gender dynamics in engineering, Savannha encourages women to pursue careers in engineering. “I absolutely would recommend this industry to other females. Many people still have a negative perception, thinking it's very male-dominated but it's actually really positive and everybody around you wants you to succeed, wants the best for you and is so supportive.”


Transition to Lecturer Role:

Embracing her new role as an Engineering lecturer at UCM, Savannha describes her career development. “I think it was definitely where I needed to progress to, and all the knowledge that I've learned over these last six years practically, and while studying at UCM has helped me to give the best to my students.” Drawing from her experience in the industry, she shares valuable insights with her students, aiming to provide them with the best education.

The companies in my experience have such an interest in helping you progress and become the best engineer you can be

Savannha Gunnell

Guidance for Aspiring Engineers:

Savannha's advice for those considering engineering in the Isle of Man is encouraging. She suggests that formal engineering qualifications aren't a mandatory starting point. The local companies display a keen interest in nurturing talent and supporting educational development. “You don't necessarily need to have any official qualifications in engineering. The companies in my experience have such an interest in helping you progress and become the best engineer you can be so they're more than happy to get you to progress throughout the qualifications.” The Island's variety of engineering opportunities, coupled with a supportive community, makes it an ideal location to further your career. “I absolutely would recommend the Isle of Man for career progression.  For such a small Island we have such a selection of different industries within engineering such as manufacturing, quality and writing programs, so there's always somewhere that you can progress to, depending on what you want to achieve.”

Isle of Man: Beautiful, Unique, Friendly:

Summing up her experience, Savannha describes the Isle of Man in three words: beautiful, unique and friendly.


Savannha Gunnell's journey echoes the vibrancy and inclusivity of the Isle of Man's engineering and manufacturing industry, proving that passion, practical exposure, and a supportive community can pave the way for a rewarding career.

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