It’s Monday 8th March 2021, which means that it’s International Women’s Day!
In honour of this global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we spoke to some of our inspirational female students about their experiences in traditionally male-dominated industries.
First up, we spoke to Ellie, who is a Level 1 Motor Vehicle Engineering student here at the SMB Group.
What Ellie had to say about her course: During this course you start learning the basics of how a car works and I have been able to get involved with building a go cart. This has involved welding which has been really exciting. I have stayed behind and put in extra effort because I am so interested in the subject and I feel that the extra effort will pay off in the future.
Why Motor Vehicle? I grew up around Motorsport and always wanted a career in this field.
What do you want to do in the Future? I am moving onto Level 2 next year and hoping to get some voluntary experience with British touring cars in the Ginetta championships this summer. I would like to work as a race team engineer, hopefully for F1, there are not many women in this but I don’t see why this should stop me. I am gaining the skills and have the determination to get there.
How have you found working in a male dominated environment? There is only one other girl in my group but it is a nice working environment. Sometimes the boys try and help me with things when I don’t need it but we all get on well and are good friends. I learn a lot from my tutor
What would you say to girls considering a career in Motor Vehicle Engineering? Motor Vehicle Engineering is a really good area for girls, you learn so many skills and there are good career opportunities I have always wanted to do this type of work and a lot of people tried to discourage me so I would say if you have the passion, don’t be scared just do it.
We also spoke to Rheanne, who studied Level 4 HNC in Electrical Engineering and is now a Laser Programmer at JB Engineering Hatton! Laser Cutters make precise metal parts based on CAD drawings or single sketches from customers for machines. She has had lots of in-house training and is going on training courses to learn how to programme particular machines.
What was your progression route into this role?
I originally studied Games development and did Computer animation and 3D Modelling at Level 3 (BTEC Extended Diploma) but I didn’t want to be in this creative area and always wanted to get into Engineering. I therefore applied to Stephenson College to study Level 4 HNC Electrical Engineering, which was a part time course over 2 years. I funded myself through this and worked in retail to support myself. A placement from college in a logistics company where I was using CAD gave me the confidence to apply for my present role.
Do you enjoy your present role? Are there many other women in your department?
I really enjoy the role and I am learning a lot. I am the only woman in the technical office and it was a little daunting at first but everyone was welcoming and has made me feel comfortable.
What do you want to do in the future?
I love my job and want to keep learning and want to move onward and upward with my present company. As I did a Level 4 course I want to continue to extend my practical knowledge and look forward to more experience in the workshop.
What would you say to a young girl leaving school thinking about engineering?
Think ‘I can do this!’
It is not a scary environment, times have changed and women are respected. Engineering is a great career with unlimited opportunities and excellent prospects.
Last but not least, we spoke to Maisie, who studies Level 3 Construction and the Built Environment!
What sort of things do you cover on the course?
We cover design, civil engineering, product management, technical drawing and surveying, amongst other things, and we have trips to site, which are really interesting.
What qualifications did you need to get on the course?
As it is a Level 3 course I needed 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above.
Why did you want to consider this type of work?
I always wanted to get into building design – a friend of the family is an architect and has inspired me.
What would you like to do after the course?
I would like to become a fully qualified architect, hopefully by doing a Higher Apprenticeship.
How do you find working in a male-dominated environment?
I am the only girl on the course but we all get on really well. Two of my teachers are female. I recently did 10-week period of work experience in the design department of a building company and there were lots of girls there. I think more girls should think about construction!
What advice would you give to female school leavers thinking of a job in Professional Construction?
Try something different – there are so many different careers in construction that are open to everyone.
If you’ve been inspired to consider Engineering or Construction as a career, check out the range of courses we have to offer. We’ve got courses to suit all levels, from Level 1 through to HNDs.