By Lisa Brand
For many years the gas industry has been hugely dominated by men and seen as a male-only role. In fact, according to British Gas, there are currently only 6% of females making up the engineering workforce. Research shows that less than 20% of girls continue to pursue physics at A-level.
What is the reason for this, and how can we encourage more young women to pursue a career in this highly male-dominated construction industry?
It all comes down to society and gender labelling, which is instilled in us from a young age; boys should play with cars and girls should play with dolls; not construction toys.
As we grow up and enter into our school years we are continuously told that all things related to construction should be left to the boys. This is resulting in girls not applying or training for male perceived roles as they are worried that they would be discriminated against and considered incapable of doing this job.
This gender imbalance needs to be addressed and more young girls and women need to be shown the practical skills that might attract them into this occupation. British Gas is trying to overcome this by working to try and inspire young women to join its apprenticeship schemes.
Barrett-Bell’s female gas engineering students from our Stevenage centre
How Schools Can Help
In order to bridge this gender imbalance gap, good career advice is needed in schools to showcase all the benefits of women in engineering. Girls and women need to be continually encouraged to continue their studies in science and maths and given work experience for an insight into what gas engineering is like. Some companies are already helping by visiting schools in order to encourage more girls to consider a career in the gas industry.
The gas industry is continually growing and as more people begin to retire over the years, the industry is constantly in need of more engineers. In order for the gas industry to meet the needs of its future workforce, it is very clear that they need to recruit more women.
Opportunities for Women
Most women never even consider a career in the gas industry and are put off by thinking it’s a man’s world. There is a huge demand in this business for women with technical abilities and women are equally as capable of doing this role as men are. In fact, research shows that when it comes to problem-solving, women usually bring an alternative approach to the problem. They are good mentors and leaders and therefore they would make great engineers.
Training as a gas engineer offers women excellent prospects, pay and lots of opportunities to develop your skills and further your career once you are qualified. There are lots of companies out there desperate to fill these positions with qualified men and women engineers.
Female Technicians are also a great alternative for the Muslim community and certain people such as the elderly who would feel very vulnerable about having a male engineer in their home. Men also feel much more at ease knowing that their partner or wife is safe at home with a female engineer.
Other benefits of working in the gas industry are:
- Good flexibility
- Plenty of opportunities
- Growth opportunities
Key Skills Required for Gas Engineering
As this is a hands-on job, there is a range of skills you should have such as:
- A desire to work in the gas industry where you will be repairing and maintaining gas appliances daily
- Good customer service skills and the ability to understand your customer's problems and needs
- A keen understanding of the appliances that you will be working with and a good knowledge of maths and science
- Good time keeping
- The ability to follow instructions and to be able to work on your own initiative
- To ensure that every job you do is done to a high standard
How to Progress in the Industry
Before you can move up the career ladder, you will need to gain lots of experience in the field. You will then have a chance to progress to a more senior, supervisory or a management position. You may even be encouraged by certain employers to gain further qualifications in order for you to specialize further in your career.
To become qualified as a gas engineer, you’ll need to pass with an engineering qualification and become gas safe registered.
Barrett-Bell regularly encourages women into this industry as we believe it offers them great opportunities. We have the knowledge and experience to help support you in understanding your talents and help you build your new career. We have helped lots of women from all walks of life to make the most of their abilities and realise their full potential.
We also work alongside many different organizations to get the best out of our students. We offer the level 3 Diploma in Gas Utilisation, Installation and Maintenance which is a City & Guilds qualification to gain the right skills to get you qualified and on the gas safe register. It has been designed for all new entrants as well as experienced engineers within the gas industry. Click here for more details.
Keeping up to Date
Once you are qualified as a gas engineer, it is important that you continue to train during your career in order to advance your professional skills and to remain up-to-date with the continuous changes that take place in the gas industry and to remain on the gas safe register.
If you are school leaver or a woman who is considering joining the gas industry click here for details or give us a call today on 01923 253 866 to find out more about our courses, and how you can sign up.