International Women In Engineering Day
“The only thing I'm gutted about is that I didn't realise opportunities like this were out there long before I decided to take a big chance that ended up paying off massively.”
In honour of International Women In Engineering Day, we interviewed Jess Dix – our first ever female apprentice who has been with us since 2018, to tell us what her experience as an engineer has been like so far.
What has your journey with CMB been like as a female engineer?
“I first heard about the company when I was doing a work placement for a plumbing course and I loved my onsite experience, so I applied for an apprenticeship with CMB, got accepted and then started in the September. I was thrilled to know I was their first ever female apprentice.
During that time, I won several awards such as BESA’s Apprentice Of The Year Award and Cardiff and Vale College’s Building Services Apprentice Of The Year Award. I am now fully qualified, and find myself working in plantrooms, helping design and plan routes, from services to supply building projects we are working on.”
Is there any advice you’d give to young women wanting to join the industry but might be apprehensive?
“For any women looking to start in the engineering industry or get themselves a trade, I would highly recommend it. The only thing I'm gutted about is that I didn't realise opportunities like this were out there long before I decided to take a big chance that ended up paying off massively.”
What’s it like to work in a male dominated Industry?
“Working in a male dominated industry isn't bad at all, it's like having a lot of older or younger brothers. They’re always willing to help and provide guidance and I find I get treated the same as any of the boys on site.”
How does it feel to be a leader in an industry where there are typically more men than women in leadership roles?
“Leadership is something I've noticed is starting to change. For instance, the job I’m currently working on in Walthamstow has mainly female site managers and it’s refreshing to see. I can work out safe manual handling ideas and see things from a different angle to my work colleague sometimes, then put a plan in place to execute the work”.
Do you feel there are still stereotypes that come with being a women in this industry, and if so what do you think we can do about it?
I've noticed a massive change in the last couple of years with people on site. You’ll still get the odd mature gentleman a bit surprised to see a female in site attire, but as soon as they've spoken to you and see you working then they think it's great to see women coming through the industry. I even now assist with school community visits to encourage young females to join this great trade”.
It is fantastic to hear that Jess is noticing a huge shift in the way that women operating in our sector are viewed and it’s thanks to people like her that we are seeing a growing interest from young women in this industry. Jess is a model example of shaping a very positive future for Women In Engineering, and we are proud to have her as an asset to our company!