International Women's Day - apprenticeships are an excellent way forwards

08 March, 2018

Author:

Marie Hodgson, Principal Transportation Engineer talks about her inspiration for becoming an engineer and explains why apprenticeships are playing a huge part in bringing more people into the construction industry.

International Women’s Day the most important thing I would like to convey is that apprenticeships are an excellent way forwards for women looking to get into the industry – and men for that matter.

I started out as a draughtsman at a civil engineering company and I found the work the engineers were doing incredibly interesting. So interesting in fact that I enrolled on a day release B Tech course to get qualified as a civil engineer myself – which was the nearest thing to an apprenticeship at the time.

I then went on to university, completing a degree in civil engineering and a masters in transport planning and engineering. Having had experience in the practical application of what we were learning was incredibly useful; it put me at a huge advantage and I had access to resources and could speak to relevant contacts when completing my project work. There’s no down side to taking this route really, I would recommend it to anyone.

I now lead a small team at Pick Everard and have never felt that being a woman has held me back in the engineering and construction industry. I’ve managed to raise a family and progress my career without experiencing any prejudice and I think positive experience like mine need to get out to the next generation of engineers who may be concerned about outdated stereotypes of an all-male working environment.

I’m an active STEM ambassador, working to get a positive message out to students who may be unaware of what roles are available to them. I always ask ‘do you know what civil engineering is?’ at the beginning of every session and I always get a lot of blank faces but, by the end of the session, the pupils are really enthused and keen to learn more. I’m delighted that my work may influence or inspire girls – and boys – to look into engineering without worrying about perceived barriers that, in my experience, don’t exist.

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