Farmer's daughter to technical engineer - Sarah's story

As a farmer’s daughter, Sarah Doherty learned the meaning of hard work first hand, giving her a great grounding for her current role as a technical engineer for British Gas.

“I always had a fascination for how things worked,” she says. “I like getting my hands dirty and doing practical stuff and, although I had no experience of engineering before I joined, I think growing up on a farm helped.”

It was also the different challenges you face in every home you visit that appealed to Sarah too. “I once got a really strange call to a house, there was a good 200 birds in this man’s sitting room and then about 100 in his kitchen with eight fish tanks,” she says.

It wasn’t just an aptitude for hands-on work and the customer interaction that appealed though. Sarah was also drawn by the earn-while-you-learn nature of modern apprenticeships.

“I liked the fact that you got a wage and extra qualifications – and you didn’t have to pay for them,” she says.

And what of the concerns that apprentices are a man’s world, and could be intimidating for females? It’s a myth as ancient as the fields that her father farms, says Sarah.

“Granted, I was the only girl on my course,” she admits. “But there were five girls in the class before mine. I was just seen as part of the team, and these days there are far more women working as engineers. I started with no background in it – six years later and I’m still enjoying it.”

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