Challenging stereotypes for a rewarding career

Julie Dickson

By Julie Dickson
British Gas Field Engineer

Julie's first job was in event planning, but she soon realised it wasn't for her. Here she tells us about her experience in the energy sector and what inspired her to take up a career in engineering.

How did you get into engineering?

My first job was in event planning but I soon realised this wasn’t for me. Looking for something new to try, I applied for an engineering apprenticeship with British Gas – and I haven’t looked back since! One of my first experiences was shadowing an engineer for the day. Straight away I got to learn what the job was about, and I instantly loved it.

Now I work as a service and repair engineer and am responsible for visiting customers’ homes to carry out work on their gas appliances, which can range from boilers to cookers. It requires a lot of problem solving but it’s a satisfying feeling knowing you’ve helped a customer out and made their home run a little more smoothly.

What do you love most about your job?

No two days are ever the same. Even though we’re working on the same appliances, every single call out has its own challenges which keeps things interesting. The technology in homes is constantly changing too, so there are always new things to learn.

Part of my role is telling people about ways to save energy around the home – it’s great to know that you’ve helped them make changes that could save them money on their energy bill.

What has inspired you in your career?

When I was young I wanted to be a vet and work with animals, but my dad was an engineer and I remember him telling me how great a career it would be. He inspired me to think about different jobs and even took me into his work one day to show me around. It gave me a chance to learn about engineering and what it was really about, and while I didn’t take a job in the industry straight away, my memories of that day have stayed with me.

What advice would you give women who are new to the sector?

If you are thinking about a career in engineering, go for it. The industry pushes you to do things you never thought that you could, and with a bit of determination you can have a really rewarding career.

Don’t let stereotypes get in your way, the engineering industry has moved on a lot in recent years and it attracts people from a variety of different backgrounds and all walks of life.