Statistics show that engineering jobs, degrees and apprenticeships are predominantly dominated by men. In Scotland alone less than 3.2% of all apprenticeships carrying out engineering roles were taken by women.
However, global gas turbines specialist Score Energy is bucking that trend. Score takes on an average of 50-70 apprentices a year. Through a formal interview process Score Energy will select several candidates from, what can be, a large number of interviewees – both male and female, with around 30% (15-21)of the final intake being women. The percentage rate of successful graduates is between 80-100% depending on the year.The program is six years and takes in half-practical work and half-theoretical classroom-based work.
The company, actively contributes and educates its apprentices offering not only theoretical programs and formal qualifications, but practical experience.
A recent graduate of the program, Laura, has just completed her six-year apprenticeship. The 24-year-old apprentice mechanical engineer chose to work with Score Energy because she was intrigued by gas generators and wanted to learn about how they work.
She said: “I wanted to make a career for myself. By doing an apprenticeship I knew I would gain on the job experience and training while also being able to further my education with the possibility of going to university if I choose to. I prefer the hands on approach.
“At Score Energy I am treated like one of the team, not a woman in the workshop – and I like that. I believe that times are changing and there are still more males working in the engineering sector. However, female percentage is on its way up - certainly at Score Energy - and just because we are female does not make us any less important or able – in fact in some cases it makes us stronger as I feel I have to go that bit further to prove our worth.”
Working alongside Laura is Christine, another apprentice mechanical engineer. The 18-year-old is in her second year of a six-year apprenticeship and said the opportunities are endless within the company.
She said: “I love creating, building and manufacturing things. I love that I can do all of these things in my job and more. Growing up on a farm, I helped my dad all the time with fixing and maintaining things.
“When I first walked through the workshop, I remember thinking it was daunting. However, having spent almost two years at Score Energy, I feel like part of the team. I’m approached and spoken to like anyone else, man or woman.”
Another member of the well-integrated team is Emma. The 20-year-old, apprentice engineer actually started her career in the office at Score Energy before moving into the workshop.
She said: “Having previously started my career in the Score Energy office, I had become familiar with the components coming in for overhaul and wanted to learn more about the practical side of things, in particular the Industrial Turbines. Once I started I realized I felt more comfortable working with more intricate components. It’s been an interesting journey but I really enjoy working with everyone and I hope to specialize in one of the technologies at some point.”
Bruce Buchan, operations director, said he was delighted with the progress of the apprentices in the workshop and believe that, at Score Energy, there is no gender divide.
He said: “At Score Energy we are happy to help and encourage our young apprentices to develop their skills in a controlled hands on environment. We coach each one through a six-year period in a theoretical sense and a practical one.
“Regardless of gender, Score Energy is particularly invested in helping educate the next generation through our scheme and also in life skills. The women we employ are accepted into the Score family and are equal members of the team.
“I look forward to continuing our commitment and hope the women we have employed encourage others to consider apprenticeships as a viable and realistic opportunity in the future.”
Scotland-headquartered Score Energy boasts 120 qualified employees around the globe and welcomed its newest facility in Houston.
The firm specializes in the inspection, overhaul, repair, upgrade, modification, testing, supply and leasing of aeroderivative and light industrial gas turbines, its fuel systems and accessories.
Image: femal apprentices group/Score Energy