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INWED17: Meet our Apprentice Electrician – Sarah Denton

23rd June 2017

Happy International Women in Engineering Day (INWED17)!

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With a large skills gap looming and the additional need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in engineering.

In support of International Women in Engineering Day we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Denton, an Apprentice Electrician in our Eastern region.

Sarah
Sarah Denton, Apprentice Electrician
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about what the average day looks like for you?

My Alarm goes off at 5:30AM, out the door by 6:30 where I meet my team at the Yard to be briefed and collect Equipment for the day’s work. I then drive to site in my own Van, assess and help with the task. Finally, we test the Equipment and take photos for reference.

 

As a woman working in engineering, do you have any role models that you look up to – both inside and outside your field?

Inside Work, I look up to my Mentors, helping and guiding me every day to complete my apprenticeship.

Outside of Work, I look up to my Mum. She’s always been Practical and level headed in tight situations. Coincidently She was also one of the first female bus drivers working for the council.

 

Why did you choose to become an engineer? What were the major factors in your decision?

I was recently made redundant from a Job working as a Lighting technician, for a long time, at a well-known Department store. It seemed like the perfect timing to expand on the knowledge that I already had to take it one step further.

 

In ten words or fewer, why do you love engineering?

It’s a varied role, lots of new places and Interesting.

 

In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up engineering in the near future?

There’s no reason not to! I wasn’t encouraged to do Engineering at school and times change, if we want to we can do anything.

 

Is there more that schools could do to get girls engaged in science from a young age?

My Daughter is in Secondary School and says that Girls are taught more about the positives of having a job in Engineering, but they aren’t told directly from a female Engineer what exactly the job entails and what the benefits of doing it are. They need real life female Engineers come into schools and tell them how good this job could be for them- at Career Evenings or Assemblies.

 

Do you think there’s a stereotype attached to female engineers?

People assume that to be an Engineer, especially within the Water industry, you can’t be feminine. You have to be physically strong and ‘one of the lads’, which is not true.

 

What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in engineering?

Just go for it! Give it a go, it is scary at the start but you will be pleasantly surprised and it will be worth it. However, it’s not glamorous….

 

In your experience, what are the benefits of working in engineering?

In everyday life, we take things for granted and don’t think about what happens behind the scenes. This job gives you an insight into what happens and you gain knowledge. It’s a trade for life that will never hopefully cease.

 

00404_INWED_Logo_CMYK_2017_v5_JH_badge_OLIf you were currently conducting a job interview, what would you look for in the ideal engineering candidate?

You need enthusiasm, you need to want to get stuck in. Common sense is very important and you need a good attitude to learning new skills. You also need to be VERY adaptable.