Sarah Calam, from Fort William, wants to encourage more women to enter into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions that have often been male-dominated.
Sarah used to work split shifts in a hotel before becoming an Openreach engineer. The 24-year-old wanted a change in profession that would not only provide her with training and qualifications to aid a successful career path, but also allow her to be at home more for her young son.
Becoming an engineer has opened more doors for Sarah. She explains: “I applied for this job last September, thinking I wouldn’t get a place, then I thought I would find the training difficult.
“But now I have a professional qualification, an SVQ in IT and Telecoms, and I have a job that I can manage my family commitments around.”
After being initially concerned about working in a sector typically populated by men, Sarah describes how it’s been easier than she first thought: “It’s great to be in something that’s a career. I’ve been all over the country with my training meeting lots of new people. My colleagues don’t treat me any differently – I’m just one of the team. And why wouldn’t I be?”
Fraser Rowberry, service delivery director for Openreach in Scotland, is keen to boost the profile of talented employees like Sarah Calam to challenge and change the perceptions of engineering in Scotland and the wider UK.
Fraser said: “We have some fantastic role models in the business who prove it is possible for women to have exceptional careers in what’s traditionally a male-dominated environment.
“We encourage our female engineers to take part in career fairs and school visits to inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
“Research shows that even though girls study these subjects in school, only a minority pursue STEM careers. This issue needs to be addressed. Part of it is showing girls from a young age that engineering is a viable career, before they’ve decided on a different path.”
We’re right in the middle of our largest ever recruitment drive for 3,500 engineers – 400 of them in Scotland – so it’s an exciting time to be part of Openreach Limited.