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Few Women Engineers Working Amongst the Men in Dorset


11:33am 23rd June 2014
(Updated 1:01pm 23rd June 2014)

There are calls for more women to take-on engineering roles in Dorset.

The Institute for Civil Engineering (ICE) says females make up less than 10% of the industry and that low number is reflected here in the county.

Out of nearly 20 engineering companies we contacted in South West Dorset, we found one woman in an engineering job.

Her name's Niki Hall and she works at Sea NC Engineering on Portland:

"I've always been very practical, I love doing things and making things so when I stepped into a factory I thought, I've found it, this is what I want to do.

I'm aware that it's considered quite a masculine profession but I don't think it needs to be any more. I think it's one that anyone who enjoys practical stuff would enjoy, whether male or female. It's a job that I enjoy doing."

Today (Monday 23rd June) is National Women in Engineering Day and Trish Johnson from ICE told us why she thinks the industry is dominated by men:

"In schools, maybe they haven't had a full briefing in terms of what engineering can give to women. Also, girls see it as very much a dirty industry at times. But there's much more to it than dealing with bricks, mortar and concrete."

"We have to get into schools and promote civil engineering to girls at under 19 level so they can see there are some great opportunities in this career. We need ambassadors to go into schools and talk to girls and boys, so they get a bit of interest in it."

Nikki Hall

Niki on Portland agreed Trish and said she was never encouraged to enjoy engineering at School as a youngster:

"The maths and sciences and technologies was still quite geared towards the chaps rather than encouraging women to go down that path. I think it's changed now, there are obviously women in engineering out there and hopefully it's all changing."

When researching this story the firms we spoke to said they'd encourage women to apply for their engineering jobs and would happily take them on if they were good enough, but they simply don't have women applying.

Calvin Samways is the operations director of Sea_NC on Portland, and Nikki's boss. He had nothing but praise for his newest recruit:

"Niki runs 2 machines side by side, she's excellent and her work is clean tidy and efficient. I think it takes a special individual to take on the role in this male dominated environment. You do see women enter this industry and excel.

She is one of the lads and she blends in fantastically. Everyone has a lot of respect for her, she's good at what she does and is keen to help."

More female engineers in Dorset have been getting in touch with us but they're still very few and far between, with less than 5 known to us in the area.

Leanne Carter is a Manufacturing Engineer at FGP on the Granby Industrial Estate. She loves her job and wants more women to get involved:

"I've always been interested I this sort of thing and getting stuck in, I love to find out how things work. A lot of women don't really known about it and I think we need to improve their knowledge about it. Because once women start doing it I think women will think its great and realise it's a great career to do."



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