Shipyard encourages more women to consider engineering career
Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird will open its doors to young women in a special event next week to encourage female engineers.
The world-famous shipbuilder and neighbouring Engineering College have joined forces to showcase the work of female engineers to students from sixth forms in the area to mark International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on June 28.
The guests will embark on a tour of polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough, currently being built at the shipyard, as well as hearing about life at Cammell Laird from several of its top staff.
The event comes as Cammell Laird prepares to launch a recruitment drive for apprentices and aims to demonstrate the world of opportunities available in engineering.
Cammell Laird chief operating officer Tony Graham urged local women interested in learning more about engineering careers to register for the event.
“Cammell Laird has always had a strong female presence across departments of the company,” he said.
“However, we do want to encourage more young women to think of engineering as a career and this event will give a real insight into what it is like to work here.
“Engineering is now more open than it has ever been to women and we have a number of female engineers who are flourishing in their jobs who will be giving presentations.
“Engineering offers a varied, rewarding career for women with an opportunity to grow and stretch themselves undertaking fascinating work.”
He added: “Cammell Laird is one of the most exciting places to work in our region and our female engineers play an important role bringing a different outlook, as well as skills. Women engineers and female workers make Cammell Laird a better business and we very much look forward to showcasing what we have to offer.”
Terry Weston, chief executive of the Engineering College, said: “We want to send out the message that engineering isn’t gender specific and that there are endless opportunities for anyone within our industry.
“The college offers training in the heavy side of engineering but also in clean engineering – more office-based roles – as well.
“There’s a massive misconception that engineering is all carried out outdoors or in a workshop, with heavy machinery, so we’re trying to highlight the other routes an engineering career can take you down.
“We look for people interested in maths and science, but also those who are good at communicating and problem solving, and this day is about changing perceptions by saying that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s all about how you are in those areas.”
Claire Biggar, assistant ship manager, joined Cammell Laird 18 months ago and will be speaking at the event.
Mum of one, Claire, spent six years in the Royal Navy. She said: “Shipbuilding and ship repair is an industry many people don’t know a lot about and engineers, generally, are declining. We want to open our doors to young women to let them into our world and highlight the career paths available at Cammell Laird.”
Having travelled the world with the navy, Claire, finished her Forces career aboard the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier – which was part-built at Cammell Laird – as a weapons engineer, having started on an electrical engineering apprenticeship.
Her role, which is six days a week, currently involves the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, mainly overseeing the painting of the vessel.