Following in my dad’s footsteps: why a technical role is for me

Julie Dickson, 27, from Hamilton, joined the Scottish Gas apprenticeship scheme in January 2014 and is now a qualified Service and Repair Engineer. Julie applied for the programme whilst working at the Scottish Gas contact centre in Uddingston, making appointments to fix boilers in customers’ homes. 


But it was a day out at her father’s workplace that first opened Julie’s eyes to a career path she hadn’t considered before. She said: “In school, I wasn’t encouraged to follow a technical career. The teachers all wanted us to go to university but I knew that wasn’t for me.


“I realised that I would enjoy a technical role after a day’s work experience with my dad, who works in aerospace engineering. So when I secured the apprenticeship, I was delighted to have the chance to get on the road towards following in my dad’s footsteps. “


When Julie arrived at the Scottish Gas Academy to start the apprenticeship three years ago, she instantly felt right at home. She said: “On my first day, I wasn’t surprised that I was the only female apprentice. I know, from my own experience, that women aren’t really encouraged to go down this route from school. All the apprentices are treated the same and the support and encouragement I received every day from my instructors was amazing.” 


Julie now enjoys working as a qualified engineer. She added: “I’ve always loved the technical and problem solving elements to the role, and I love telling customers about the new innovations we’re bringing out.


“It’s amazing how the world is changing thanks to technology, and a lot of customers don’t realise the benefits that something like Hive Active Heating™ can offer. Their faces light up when I install a new product and they see it working for the first time!”


Looking ahead, Julie wants to use her experiences to inspire other women to consider careers in engineering. She said: “I’d encourage anyone to consider a career in engineering. As well as having life-long skills, it’s such a rewarding job helping customers each day.


“My goal is to become one of the top engineers in my area to hopefully make other women realise they can get a career in engineering if they work hard.”

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