What is it like being a woman in an engineering job

Added: 13th December 2018 by BBC

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What is it like being a woman in an engineering job? Absolutely no different to being a man in an engineering job.

Your technical ability doesn’t depend on your gender and each individual has their own skillset to bring to the table. Within our cohort of broadcast engineers, we all started from different backgrounds, some straight from school like me and others having previously worked or trained within the industry, so the skill levels were wide and varied – across both the guys and girls. We’ve all had to learn new things and adapt to new situations in work and at university, and everyone is always willing to help on things you may be unsure of.

I’ve been on the apprenticeship scheme for a year, and I have undertaken two placements within BBC Scotland. My second and longest placement has been within Production Technology development, where I’m currently based and this has been a great placement, as I have been able to see projects through from start to finish for the first time. It was also easier going into this as I had already met the members of staff from working in my first placement and had a good idea of how things in the building worked, and this allowed me to work on various projects both independently and as part of a team. Amongst others, some of my projects so far have included setting up a communications over IP solution between a studio and a remote site and creating portable kits for teams to use for internet access in remote areas. Additionally, I have been working on assisting the move from a traditional phone system to a VoIP phone system within Scotland’s largest outside broadcast vehicle – all projects which have actual impact and real life uses for broadcast teams.

As a woman working in what is a mainly male dominated field, it does create some initial worries over what experiences you’ll have, but those worries were completely unfounded. The other engineers have been very welcoming and will treat you like any other member of the team, and are good at ensuring you are learning and doing a good job. Even though I had no previous experience in the field, they are always patient and helpful - as everyone has to start somewhere and they all remember being in your position! Also, within my current placement, one of the senior engineers is female, so it has been great having a role model to show you exactly what is possible. At university I have found it a very level playing field amongst our cohort, with some things that I had never even pictured myself doing, like computer networking and operations, coming surprisingly naturally.

The scheme so far has been great fun and working on site during major events like the 2018 European championships in Glasgow, Proms in the Park, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have been invaluable opportunities. I have enjoyed working as a STEM ambassador for school pupils, as well as spending time at university with a great course cohort, as well as on placement. Overall, it’s been a great year so far and I look forward to seeing what the next two will bring!

By Daisy Haining

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Tagged as: Industry News