Melissa Chigubu, who only came to the UK from Zimbabwe seven years ago, has been given the accolade by the Women's Engineering Society. Her nomination was announced at the Women's Engineering Society centenary dinner at the Waldorf Hotel in London and she received her award at a ceremony at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Melissa, 19, who lives in Abingdon, developed her love of hands-on engineering after being enthused by her uncles. She came to the UK in 2012 and was the first female to complete the Foundation Gateway in the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre's new Apprenticeship Engineering Standard programme.

She was the AMTC's Apprentice of the Month on three occasions and became an enthusiastic advocate of women in engineering.

Paul Rowlett, managing director of the AMTC, said Melissa embraced challenge as an opportunity and is passionate about encouraging others to do the same, particularly women.

"Melissa is a talented and dedicated learner who strives to excel, demonstrating exceptional skills for her early career stage. Our training staff regard her competency portfolio as the best they have ever seen, and this accolade recognises her outstanding performance, professional behaviour and support of other learners," he said.

He added, "She is a strong advocate for women in engineering and in apprenticeships. She has been instrumental in activities that aim to encourage women to follow engineering career paths as well as to increase teacher and parent engagement by breaking down traditional stereotypes."