'A sterotype is an illusion' - Call to recruit more female engineers on International Women's Day

Emma SpotwoodEmma Spotwood
Emma Spotwood
Two female engineers have used International Women’s Day to call for more women to consider a career in construction.

Katie Lupton, 33, and Emma Spotwood, 37, are employed in the technical department of house builder Harron Homes

Ms Lupton, who is an engineering manager, started her career as a receptionist but has progressed within the industry from administration to managing the engineering team.

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She said: “I had no plans to choose a career in engineering, in fact I don’t think the 19 year old me had any clue what that was. And that’s what I’d like to see change. Women of all ages can do this kind of role, if only they were aware of the opportunities available to them.

Katie LuptonKatie Lupton
Katie Lupton

"In fact, my administration background has been huge advantage. My role requires good project management and organisational skills as well as technical knowledge.

“When I’m on site, I’m frequently the only woman in a room full of men and there have been odd occasions where I’ve been asked if I am the sales executive but it doesn’t bother me.

"Fortunately, in the 10 years that I’ve been working in technical I have seen the respect for women on site increase. I have broad shoulders and make sure everyone knows I’m here to do a job.”

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A spokesman said: “Emma’s first professional role was also in administration but an interest in problem solving led her to pursue opportunities in the technical side of utilities.”

She is now services engineer, responsible for the planning and installation of vital services, including gas, electricity and water at Harron’s developments.

She said: “I’m very often working around a muddy hole in the ground in my job. There have been a few raised eyebrows during my time but after 15 years in the profession I’ve learnt to ignore any judgement.

“It quickly falls away when people see I mean business. I know I’m good at my job and that’s the best advice I can give anyone considering a career in a field that is stereotypically male - be confident in your abilities.

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“And remember a stereotype is just that, it’s an illusion. Gender plays no part in the reality of my working life. Just get your teeth stuck in. That’s what I did and I love my job. It’s incredibly rewarding and I feel very supported by Harron.”

John Booth, Managing Director at Harron Homes said, “It’s vital that the next generation of our industry’s workforce comes from a truly diverse pool and that we call out inequality when we see it.”

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