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Case Study: Meet British Gas Service Manager, Hayley Newton

Our British Gas Service Manager, Hayley Newton, tells us how she's inspiring the next generation of female leaders.
How did you first get into Engineering?
I always wanted to be an engineer of some sort, but I had no real career advice at school. Luckily, I had great parents who encouraged me and said I could do anything I wanted with focus and hard work.
I became an engineer completely off my own back – as soon as I left school I emailed British Gas to ask if they offered apprentice schemes – I'm British Gas born and bred! With my parents' support, I started at British Gas straight out of school I haven't worked anywhere else! I've been an engineer with British Gas for a little over 25 years and was recently promoted to Service Manager.
What advice would you give to women who are considering the engineering space?
I would say go for it! Most customers are still surprised to see a female engineer on their doorstep. We need to change these attitudes as lots of parents may tell their daughters 'oh no – engineering isn't for you' which is influencing their career choices. If your daughters are interested, encourage them to learn more about it and see where their curiosity takes them.
How have your own experiences in engineering influenced you to help shape the next generation of female engineers?
I'm still surprised by how few females even consider being an engineer. A lot of the girls I have spoken with have said they didn't even realise they could be an engineer. I want girls to realise it isn't just a 'man's job' -- everyone should be encouraged to aim for the career they want!
That's why I decided to take part in the Career Lab sessions / School talks. Through Career Lab, we are slowly changing people's perception of engineering – both bright young women and their parents.
We still have a long way to go because many girls have never even considered engineering, so they haven't found out what it's all about. Going into schools and showing the girls that there are successful ladies at British Gas opens up a whole range of new career options to the students.
What would you encourage young minds who are interested in a possible career in engineering to do?
I'm a big believer in getting some real-life work experience - I recently brought a friend's daughter to work with me for a couple of days. She really enjoyed it and was asking loads of questions about how she could come and work when she was old enough. And, if you know someone in the industry, a mentor is always a great way to learn more about a profession you are interested in.
I started working on the 'One for the Future' programme last year and decided to set up a mentoring system for women training to become engineers. It's never been done before, but it's so important to have someone who you can talk to who has been in your shoes, especially for the apprentice girls who are new to the job. They may be working on a patch with no other women. It's still in the early stages, but I'm hopeful it will be a great success!
Additionally, I would say get involved in organisations in school or work that can assist with supporting the goals you have in your career. Last year, I joined Centrica Women's Network and it's been a wonderful way for me to build work relationships, gain friendships and further develop my work skills.

For more information contact:

Centrica Press Office
01784 84 3000

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy and services company, serving more than 10 million homes and over 400,000 businesses across the country. More than 8,000 highly-trained engineers guarantee the highest quality of service for our residential and business customers. We also provide a range of innovative offers and services including connected home Hive™ products, smart meters, and the online tradesman service, Local Heroes.

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