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Raising the profile of female engineers

TNEI Services' Managing Director discusses the current landscape for Women in Engineering. 

TMEI's women in engineering

Rachel Hodges, Managing Director, TNEI Services, is looking to achieving a good balance of women and men across the engineering sector.

"TNEI Services are a specialist energy consultancy that work mostly in the low carbon sector (renewable energy, smart grids and transmission planning), employing power systems engineers and environmental consultants. Earlier this year we had a visit from the IET to our offices in Manchester and as part of those conversations we did get on to the topic of Women in Engineering.

Why the topic came up was sort of understandable, I am the recently appointed female Managing Director of a well-respected consultancy, the Operations Manager of our power systems team, Nilanga Jayawarna, is also female, as is our Regulatory Sector Lead, Anna Ferguson, and Overseas Lead, Charlotte Higgins, and a number of our senior and technical consultants. In total, we currently have 10 female power systems consultants out of 30 and 33% is a pretty significant figure in any part of the engineering world.

Achieving balance

In the circles that I work in it is still remarkable, clients sometimes comment when 2 or 3 female engineers turn up for a meeting or when they realise that out of the 7 consultants that lead the Power System team, 4 are women. But on a day to day basis, I don’t notice it, our type of consultancy works alongside management consultants, lawyers and financial institutions so there are plenty of other women around. It is when you get on site, where I have been in the past, project managing the installation of a wind powered hydrogen refueller, or offshore, investigating arc flash and harmonics on an offshore platform, in some of our clients offices that are large utilities like National Grid, Scottish Power or Centrica or even the institutions, like IET or CIGRE where I am aware that I am ‘different’ or ‘novel’ (and I have some interesting tales to tell about them) that you realise just how remarkable it is.

I feel awkward celebrating the number of women in our company, I wish that wasn’t necessary or noteworthy, I don’t like to differentiate between men and women in the office but just as having representatives from 20 nationalities in one office provides lots of diversity and interest, so I believe that having a good balance of men and women helps to make it a good place to work, and as the Managing Director, making TNEI a good place to work, with interesting projects and variety, is one of my main objectives."