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Rosie Smith, Craftsperson (Joint), East Midlands (pictured above)

My first job in the industry was temping on the incident desk. I did that for eight years before I thought about getting a jointing job.

In the past, I had worked with horses and I really wanted a job working outside so I went on a few site visits on my days off to find out more and decided to become a jointer.

I like being outside, being able to get on with things and seeing a job through to the end.

I am the only woman on my team but I don’t even think about it. I don’t know if the job is different for me as a woman because I don’t know what it’s like for a man. In my whole time as a jointer, I have never been treated differently because I am female.

If other women are considering a career like mine, I would say ‘why not?’ I thought I could do it and the company gave me the opportunity so I went out and did it. I will probably be a jointer until I can’t do it anymore.


Debra Baker, Planner, South Wales

My initial role within the company was at the South Wales Electricity Showroom in Merthyr. Shortly after that, I took on a clerical post in the Cardiff area which covered a large range of activities.

Approximately 15 years later, I moved into a street works inspector’s role, which involved liaising with the local authorities and managing the excavation reinstatement contractors.

When WPD took over, I completed a City and Guilds course to further improve my technical ability. This qualification was vital to obtaining a planning role.

My current position within the company is Team Planner. I have been planning for the last 18 years, and my initial planning role was as a Craftsperson planner. My daily duties include network design, including the planning, preparation and delivery of new connections to large commercial supplies, alterations and capital projects.

I was one of the first female planners within the business - now there are considerably more female planners. Often the assumption from people outside the company is that I am part of the clerical staff, as opposed to being a Network Planner but that perception has changed a lot over the years.

Planning is very technical but it is a role that anybody can do. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, young or old, as long as you deliver what the customer wants.

Amy Bearman, Craft Development, West Midlands

I did engineering at GCSE - there was me and one other girl in the class – but I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.

My sister saw the WPD job advertised and said I should apply. It was a hands-on job which she knew was what I wanted. I didn’t want to sit in an office all day.

I work quite a lot on building sites on new connections, new mains and jointing on the new services. We tend to be somewhere different every week which I like.

There are a few female technicians in the office but fewer women out in the field - but you get used to that. I just get on with it.

My favourite part of the job is the people I work with. I help them and they help me. It’s a good environment to work in and we have a laugh.

I would like to do this job for a few more years and then perhaps become a technician and start climbing up the ladder.

Teresa Smith, Planner, South West

I am a grade 6 planner, looking after all the big LV enquiries and HV diversions and new substations and upgrades up to 1,000 kVA.

I left school to do civil engineering and worked for a company that was involved in architecture. I liked the architectural drawing side of it.

In 1990, when the economic crash happened, I left the industry and went to SWEB to do mapping, thinking I would be there for perhaps three years and then go back again - but I am still here!

The mapping was really interesting. One reason I didn’t go back to civil engineering or architecture was that everything went to computers and I liked the hand drawing.

Later on, I ended up becoming an operator looking after the contractors, overseeing the cable laying, ordering the cables and taking care of all their instructions. I learned a lot about laying cables and how a job came together at 33 HV and LV. I saw cables being jointed together and link boxes being put in – I learned a lot about what went on underground.

When my children were small, I was a part time Team Support for a while, and then a planning job came up so I went for it. I had helped one of the planners in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have now been a planner for 10 years.

There have been barriers ever since I left school because I am a female in a male-dominated world. You have got to be thick skinned but anything is possible if you set your mind to it – and if you have a good maths background! There is a lot of maths in the training courses.

To read about International Women in Engineering Day please click here