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National Women in Engineering Day

Posted on 23 June 2014 03:53 PM by beres1c

Today is National Women in Engineering Day, a day when the Women’s Engineering Society wants to highlight the great opportunities for women in engineering.

I’ve been working as an engineer for more than 20 years and, while there are not that many of us around, it’s never made the slightest difference that I’m female and it is a great career to be in. I’ve always enjoyed maths and physics so engineering was always on the cards for me.

I studied an HNC in electrical electronic engineering at North Lincolnshire College which was set up to encourage women into the industry and I’ve never looked back. I started off as a trainee with the Eastern Electricity Board and then went into the control room where I am today.

My day involves keeping the electricity network running by managing the routine maintenance work, repairing faults on the network and helping to maintain power supplies. And while I’m often the only woman in a meeting, I’m never treated any differently. I’m just one of the team and I love my job. There are lots of opportunites for women in engineering and more of them by taking up training that is on offer. I feel quite privileged to have gone through the HNC programme  and to have been introduced to such a rewarding career.

It also makes me feel happy that I can make a difference and do something to make people’s lives happier and just a little bit better, even if it is at a simple level.

Each day amazes me
Each day at work absolutely amazes me -  before I come in, I never know what problems we’re going to have to try to solve.

One day in particular comes to mind during the last football World Cup. There had been a local power cut and the electricity to the local pub had gone off. I remember this enormous cheer went up when the power went back on again. It sounds like nothing very much, but for one moment, that power coming back on again meant a lot to lots of people. It meant a lot to me, too.

My day
Our electricity network is built to be resilient, but that means lots of work going on behind the scenes to make sure it stays that way – as well as lots of hard work to get electricity supplies back to our customers quickly if a power cut does happen.

Each day I check all of the planned work for the day, which includes maintenance such as tree trimming and work on new substations. I also have to make sure that the work doesn’t conflict with any other jobs being carried out. I check all of the next day’s jobs will work together well so that other parts of the network aren’t overloaded.

We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week and any power cuts are fixed around the clock. We have to decide the best course of action, which engineers and distribution supply technicians go where. That coordination takes a bit of getting together.

As  a 24/7 operation it can get pretty hectic at times, especially if there’s a really bad spell of weather. This means teamwork is absolutely crucial  and we all work really hard together to get customers back on supply as soon as we can.

I’m also involved in the introduction of new types of remote control fault rectification, such as tele-control where we are able to operate the electricity switches to put the power on and off again without the need to send someone to the site.  This is gradually being installed along with another  programme called Automation which should also help get power supplies back on.

Interested in a career in engineering? Take a look at our vacancies


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