It’s no secret that engineering can be perceived as a male-dominated industry. But at Gregory Engineering in Picton, we want to do all we can to change that perception. We’re starting the week by celebrating ‘Introduce a girl to engineering day‘, officially marked on 16th February.
Women in engineering:
The idea that engineering is for men only is a myth. Historically, and probably most famously, women began working in engineering when men went off to war.
But many women became famous preceding even that. For example, Emily Roebling contributed to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883. Her husband, who was the Chief Engineer and fell ill during construction, and she stepped in.
She became so proficient in day-to-day project management, managing technical issues, materials, stress analysis, construction and calculations, that she was the first to cross the bridge, recognising her leading role in its construction.
Perhaps the perception that engineering is a male-driven industry is due to its often dirty or heavy environment. Workplace culture and stereotypical views have continued to drive thoughts on engineering as a career pathway for young men.
Thankfully these outdated views seem to be shifting a little with new technologies.
Jason and Pauline were in Italy a few years ago with the “Hydraulink” group. They had been invited on factory tours to see where our products originate. We found it very exciting and inspiring to see many women in the industry. Their roles varied from being at the forefront of large manufacturing companies to working the production lines. Many were completing work that technology and machinery couldn’t do faster than nimble fingers. The ball bearings in a QRC coupling are still placed by (often female) hands, as they can’t get a machine to do it as quickly! How cool is that?
Pauline (our company co-director) on Women in Engineering:
One of the main things we look for when recruiting at Gregory Engineering is attitude and drive. These qualities are, of course, not gender specific.
However, looking at the female nurturing instinct, we can see that it brings new qualities to our workplaces. I care whether our staff are happy and fulfilled in their employment. It’s also essential that our customers feel they have been looked after.
These nurturing qualities also show themselves in other ways. Other industry providers I have spoken to find that female employees can be particularly careful with the equipment or machinery they may use.
As women, we like to communicate, so selling can be fun, and, in my experience, when we are passionate about something, we want to show or tell the world!
Speaking with many of my female industry peers over the years, they are patient and have a massive drive to succeed in what they do. Having balance in our industry is essential, and I think it has great value in bringing our new generation to a healthier, positive workplace.
Does engineering interest you?
Engineering is a career pathway for any gender, and it can be surprising once you give it a go. It’s a chance to be creative, have a varied workday, help people in times of trouble with the prospect of travelling the world and have a career that makes a difference to so many industries.
There’s a perception that working in an engineering business is just welding or grinding. But, a recent analysis of our company when developing our training programme showed us at least 23 different pathways were available.
How we would like to see the entry to engineering progress.
We would love to see trades represented across all schools, whether co-ed or single-sex, with the technology departments frequently linking with proactive, supportive industry providers to provide authentic experiences for young people interested in giving it a go.
It helps when customers and the government support our teams and us. This allows us to train people in a world full of business challenges. At Gregory Engineering, we believe the only way to be exceptional is to start training to be outstanding! It’s essential to be open-minded that just because people are young or in training does not make them incapable.
Shannara (our front-of-house salesperson) on working in engineering:
I have loved the engineering industry since I started working here. Engineering is an industry that allows you to be creative and make some fantastic things. Having always enjoyed being hands-on, I love that this job allows me to do that in a safe and supportive environment. I enjoy the variety of work and constantly learning new things.
Since I joined Gregory Engineering eighteen months ago, I’ve had the opportunity to have a go at most of the departments here. These have included drilling and tapping, cutting steel, making hydraulic hoses, using software to create designs to cut out on the waterjet, bending steel on the press-break machine and even a small amount of welding. My role is quite hands-on, and I enjoy being able to help out in the workshop.
Generally, I have found customers and colleagues very accepting of me in this environment. The team I work with is hugely supportive. There are always peers willing to lend a hand and help me if I’m unsure of something.
I have become increasingly interested in engineering since I started working at Gregory Engineering and would love to start an apprenticeship with Jason and Pauline, they are amazing people and bosses, and engineering would be a fantastic skill to learn; fabrication is the thing that interests me most, and I would love to know more.
At Gregory Engineering, we always seek people to join our team, and we’d love to see more women in engineering.
We would love to hear from you if you are willing to listen, learn, contribute, and make a positive difference in our workplace and industry. Contact us HERE.