Pushing to the forefront in male-dominated roles in engineering

As we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we want to encourage females to consider a career in engineering.

We’ve put the spotlight on one of our finest Ficep engineers, Debbie, who has shared her unique story which led her to eventually pursue a career in engineering and asked her what advice she has to give to young girls and women considering a career in engineering.

What sparked Debbie’s interest in engineering?

Since Debbie was young, she was always inquisitive about the mechanics of everything, from old radios to TVs; taking them apart, just to rebuild them. After learning how to fix things from a such a young age, she’s always stuck with the “don’t buy new, just fix the old one” mentality which fueled her passion to build a career in what has traditionally been male-dominated roles such as engineering.

In between her successful stint as an England Women’s Rugby player - and representing England in the 2008 Rugby World Cup in Australia - Debbie got a job as a firefighter, where she served four years in the fire service.

It was after her time here, and side projects of renovating houses and stints of modelling which has led her to be the face of a hair and beauty salon in York that she had the infamous “lightbulb moment” to pursue something that she loves to do; fixing things. Fast forward to an apprenticeship and professional qualifications later, she became a machine builder, before working her way up as a service engineer for Ficep UK.

Building a successful engineering career

As she is so used to being in male-dominant roles now, Debbie often forgets some of the stigmas around it. Debbie explained she is reminded of this through the stares she gets when she’s on a new site, or when people constantly ask her if she needs help on things that she’s been qualified and capable to do for years. Surprisingly, she revealed that most of these challenges come from women as they are often more shocked about her being in an engineering role than men are.

Debbie’s advice to young girls and women considering a career in a typically male-dominated role:

The first battle to get yourself around is to not think of it as a man’s world or job. If you’re interested or passionate about something, try your hardest and you’ll get there, no matter who you are. I know there are stigmas that engineering is a man’s job so often only men go for the jobs, but the best way to combat the stigma is for women to just go for these jobs if they’re interested. That’s when we’ll start to see change in the industry.

Ficep UK has supported Debbie’s career over the past four years, giving her the opportunity to continuously develop her skills through in-depth technical engineering, electrical and in-house technical training in Italy, Germany and Amsterdam. We will continue to support Debbie throughout her career at Ficep and encourage more diverse team members to join our ranks.