When it comes to inspiring girls into engineering it seems there’s no one quite like dad or granddad: Tina Cleland

Friday 23 Jun 2017

When it comes to inspiring girls into engineering it seems there’s no one quite like dad or granddad

  • Network Rail’s female employees thank their male relatives for inspiring them and countering the perception that “engineering is not for girls”
  • This International Women in Engineering Day, Network Rail is celebrating its female workforce and encouraging young females to follow in their footsteps

When it comes to being inspired, it seems there is no place like home according to Network Rail’s female workers.   A poll of the company’s female employees has revealed that it was their closest male relations – their dads and granddads – that had most inspired and influenced their life choices.

Network Rail surveyed its female workers ahead of this year’s International Women in Engineering Day to find out their key influences. Respondents cited a range of inspirational sources from impressive structures like the US Treasury building, to controversial public figures like Malcom X but overwhelmingly, it was their interaction with their close family members that had proved most influential. In fact more than half stated that it was either their father or granddad that had provided the inspiration and encouragement in their young lives that influenced their later choice of career.

Tina Cleland works as a senior programme engineer on the Thameslink project, part of the team that is undertaking the huge redevelopment on London Bridge station. She says:

“As a young girl I always helped my dad fix things and as I got older my interest and curiosity in how things were made grew. I loved making things, the sense of creating something. Now I love seeing a design evolve into a space that people will use and enjoy. It’s a real sense of pride that I’ve played a part in such a big infrastructure project.”

 This is echoed by many of her colleagues. Louise Bungay said: 

“My dad was a highways engineer and I remember him saying as he drove us all along a road, ‘I designed this.’. I remember thinking how cool it was to have ownership of something which people use every day.” Louise now works as an  asset engineer in Cardiff looking after infrastructure which supports the railway line, such as bridges, walls and tunnels.

International Women in Engineering Day, organised by the Women’s Engineering Society, is intended to raise the profile and achievements of females in the industry and is held on Friday 23 June 2017. More information can be found here: http://www.nwed.org.uk/

All over the country, Network Rail’s female engineers are sharing their passion for the railway with girls and young women, and encouraging them to consider engineering as a career path, challenging the outdated perception that engineering is not a career choice for young women.

As Loraine Warner, a senior project engineer says: “My granddad taught me that you can be whatever you want to be regardless of religion, race or gender and showed me that you can still be strong whilst having the capacity for kindness and compassion.”

Network Rail is committed to attracting a more diverse workforce and increasing the number of women in its workforce, especially in engineering roles.  Rail is vital to the UK’s economic growth and Network Rail is transforming and modernising the railway as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan, to make a bigger and better railway for passengers. There is a huge amount of work involved which provides a wealth of opportunities for women who want to embark on a career in engineering.

To find out more about careers with Network Rail go to http://www.networkrail.co.uk/careers/

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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
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  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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