France's Best Aircraft Apprentice is 21-Year-Old Woman

An Airbus structure fitter who helps to assemble the nose cones of A380 jetliners, Sandy Bodet has won a gold medal in the "Meilleurs Apprentis de France – Best Apprentice in France" competition, her employer announced.

A female Airbus employee named Sandy Bodet, 21, has been awarded the gold medal for Best Apprentice Aircraft Mechanic, Airframes, in the 2012 "Meilleurs Apprentis de France – Best Apprentice in France" competition. The company announced she would receive the prize March 6, 2013, at the French Senate. Bodet has been training as an apprentice for more than two years at the Airbus plant in Saint-Nazaire and works as a structure fitter on the nose cones of A380 aircraft.

Sandy Bodet, 21, was awarded the gold medal for Best Apprentice Aircraft Mechanic, Airframes, in the 2012 "My father, who also works at Airbus on the A320, never thought that one day I would follow in his footsteps," she said in the company's news release, adding that she sees nothing unusual about women working on the shop floor. "There are ten other women working in the same sector as me."

"The example set by Sandy Bodet is really inspirational. It highlights the fact that a woman can work and flourish in a technical profession. We're multiplying our initiatives to encourage more women to join us. Out of the 3,000 recruitments planned for 2013, our target is that 25 percent of them should be women. This, because I am convinced that a more balanced female participation at every level of the company and a better gender mix in our teams can only improve our performance," said Thierry Baril, chief human resources officer for EADS, the parent company, and Airbus. Airbus has 59,000 employees worldwide.

The apprentice competition is open to people under 21 in 19 professions who are undergoing Level V and IV initial training. At least 4,500 apprentices from around the country compete each year for one of the 288 medals. They present work-related projects before local, regional, and ultimately a national jury. Bodet and other competitors took final exams in September and October 2012.

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