Meet Grantham College’s budding female engineers
Three local girls are waving the flag for women in engineering
International Women in Engineering Day returns for its ninth year on June 23 and three girls at Grantham College are testament to how rewarding the industry can be as a career path.
Sienna Hutchinson, Katie McCready and Erin Ashworth, all 17, are currently studying a BTEC National Diploma Engineering. They are each also, due to strong partnerships between the college and local employers, enjoying work experience with three Grantham-based engineering businesses. Their progress and passion for the industry is going from strength to strength.
Sienna, who is on work experience with Pentangle Engineering Services Limited, has been experiencing first hand a varied set of roles, including programming, welding, developing and even some off-site projects.
She said: “This is a fantastic experience and I have been expanding my knowledge in different areas and learning first hand. For me, this is the most sensible way to learn, by observing in situ and then giving it a go yourself.
"The team are great and give me clear instructions, supporting me until I have mastered each task. I then have a mix of supervised and unsupervised roles, and every day is different.”
On how engineering can be rewarding for women, Sienna said: “Women who pursue engineering open up a whole new range of career opportunities with lots to learn and the whole world to discover.
"You get to see things from different perspectives and apply skills that can be used in so many different roles.
"You could travel. You could save a life. It’s exciting to see where it might lead. I love that there are so many facets from the practical and logical through to creativity and imagination. That’s what makes this sector so special.”
Katie McCready has been placed at Grantham Fabrications and Profile Services Ltd since May. Initially she was quite nervous about being possibly the only girl in the team, and unsure what to expect, but within just a day of being there she had grown in confidence and knew she was going to enjoy the experience.
Katie, who has been working on the press machine and welding, has been helping with a number of different projects, and even worked on making a new forklift cage.
On career options, Katie said: "I am thoroughly enjoying the experience, the team and the diversity of the work. I’m not sure yet if I want to go to university or go straight into a job, but this experience will help me with both options.
"I am also a sergeant with the Lincolnshire Army Cadets, which I love, so who knows… maybe I will look at combining engineering with this.”
Paktronic Engineering Ltd is another local employer who was keen to support the work experience programme and has often welcomed apprentices to its premises. Erin Ashworth is currently enjoying being part of the team.
Ian Sparshott, works manager, said: “We always look forward to encouraging new recruits and our team is great at demonstrating and supporting on-site learning.
"We already have a few women in different roles across our sites and see this as a very inclusive environment, which hopefully girls such as Erin can both learn and develop within.”
Erin, who travels from Melton Mowbray especially for her placement has had an interest in engineering from an early age and family members in the sector. She is a very hands-on person, so it felt a natural fit for her.
Initially Erin was interested in studying architecture but was advised to look at civil engineering, and is now aiming to go to Coventry University to study both subjects on a Masters degree.
Erin said: “This experience here has been amazing and I have really been welcomed into the team. I have been given so much support and instruction and the autonomy to do certain tasks unsupervised as I have developed my skills.
“This has really opened my eyes as to how vast the sector is and the scope to do so many great things. I’ve worked on drilling, squaring, levelling and electrical wiring so far, and engraving I am gaining so much knowledge and actual skills, and I‘d certainly say to other girls that there is a role for everyone.
“This is not your average place of work you get to do so many great things and be a part of building something. I’d definitely recommend both the work and the course.”
Grantham College offers a broad range of engineering related courses including in key areas such as Mechanical, Production, Electrical and Maintenance Engineering, Electrical Installations, Electronics, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Rapid Prototyping Technology and are keen to encourage more girls onto their courses.
Sai Ghamandi, engineering lecturer at Grantham College, said: “I would like to encourage more and more women in engineering as I feel women are multi-tasking and having multi-dimensional thinking ability by nature.
“Engineering roles are more secured, and they bring with them good high salary. These roles are widely available for girls as there are so many pathways and something to suit everybody. You can have a really rewarding career in engineering."