International Women’s Day | We Chat to Peel Ports, Automation Technician, Emma Sanders
This Sunday 8th March will mark #InternationalWomensDay2020, a day to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. This year the theme is #EachforEqual which highlights the importance of challenging stereotypes, fighting bias and broadening perceptions where collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.
Throughout the week we have shared the inspiring stories from our inclusive role models series, the stories of women from all walks of life, working across engineering and technology. Today we share Emma’s story…
Emma approached Morson back in November 2019 as she was made redundant from her position at Warwick University and looking for her next role. After a successful first and second stage interview, which included psychometric tests, Emma secured the position with Peel Ports in Liverpool as an Automation Technician. Starting on the 16th March, Emma will be joining their growing automation team and will be looking after all automation at Peels Liverpool dock.
Emma explains why she chose to become an engineer and her aspirations for the future:
“I never knew what I wanted to be when I was growing up; people would always suggest things but none of them ever appealed to me. When I was 15, I was at my friend’s house talking to her dad about what he had been doing in his engineering role and my friend started joking saying ‘if you are going to talk to my dad about his work, just go and work there so I don’t have to hear it’. That's when I realised that she was right, and I should try engineering.
Before this point, I'd just never considered engineering as an option for a future career. After that, I started looking for apprenticeships. the main question I remember being asked was ‘would you be okay working with all males and being the only female’, at the time, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer and I was determined to not let this phase me .
I am currently studying my HNC in Controls and Instrumentation Engineering, so my plan for the next 5-10 years is to complete that, continue to my HND and hopefully obtain my degree to help me to further my career.”
Traditionally, engineering has always been perceived as a male-dominated industry, Emma talked about why it’s important that more women take up engineering:
“I think that it is important for anyone looking into a career in engineering to feel like it's an option for them. A lot of women - or even young girls - get put off when they're told that it's a ‘male-dominated’ industry.
I'm a strong believer in the idea that everyone should be allowed to follow their dreams and take a job that they want regardless of gender. The only way to change the stereotype would be for women to take up engineering and prove that it isn’t just a ‘man’s job’.”
She explains why campaigns encouraging women into STEM professions such as International Women’s Day and Women in Engineering is so important:
“Some of the challenges have come from people being surprised to see a female in a workshop. It makes you feel like you have to work twice as hard just to earn the confidence of your co-workers and prove that you can actually do the job you were hired to do.
I think the work being done to encourage women in engineering has helped a lot with that though. Another challenge was always when you join a group of males and they suddenly act like they can't make jokes in case they offend you. It takes a while for them to become comfortable around you as a female if they have never worked with women in engineering before.”
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, Emma chats about what this means for her:
“#EachforEqual brings light to the fact that equality is still an issue within engineering. I think it will help to encourage equality within the workplace and help me to not be seen as an anomaly as a female engineering technician.
Gender equality is so important because you should be able to do what you love and what you're good at and enjoy your job. It's better to have a company of great engineers regardless of gender. There are so many amazing women in engineering and I would hate to think that these people wouldn't be in the field if gender equality had never become important.”
We asked Emma, on International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
“I think the most important thing to say to women thinking about their careers would be to follow your hearts. If you want to go into engineering, then just ignore what anyone else says and do it because you won't regret it. The only way to gain equality in engineering is to have women join the field and prove that it isn't just a man's job.”
Find out how Morson can help you kick-start your career in engineering
Rob Wilson, Morson’s Maintenance & Service Engineering Recruitment Consultant helped Emma progress her career, he discusses the importance of gender equality in business.
“Emma approached me when she found out she was being made redundant. Within two months of our initial chat about her skills, experience and ambitions Emma is relocating to Liverpool to start her new role within one of the North West’s most iconic businesses, Peel Ports, and take on her next challenge within Engineering. It’s a happy coincidence that Emma secured this position so close to International Women’s Day. With this year’s theme #EachforEqual it’s great to work with companies and clients who are striving for gender equality within their businesses.”