Mersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseysideMersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseyside

Cammell Laird and the Engineering College showcase careers for women at INWED event

By Mersey Maritime

Birkenhead shipyard and marine engineering services company Cammell Laird gave young women a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in engineering as part of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 2019.

Ten girls from schools and colleges in Birkenhead and surrounding areas met female engineers and saw shipbuilding in progress during the event organised by the shipyard and the Engineering College.

The event aimed to encourage more women into engineering and highlight the opportunities available as Cammell Laird prepares to launch a recruitment drive for apprentices.

The girls even toured polar research vessel the Sir David Attenborough, described to them by Cammell Laird chief operating officer Tony Graham as “the ship that will save the planet”. And they heard first-hand how the build is progressing from Carrie Harris, second engineer with the British Antarctic Survey, who will be one of eight women out of the ship’s 28 crew once it launches.

Mr Graham addressed the group of young women with Cammell Laird managing director Paul Owen to explain why the day was so important.

He said: “Just increasing our workforce numbers isn’t good enough for me. We need increasing levels of diversity and the right kind of talent in the business, people with passion and loyalty, who are confident and willing to learn, who are going to go on our growth journey with us.

“I’ve always considered engineering to be the only true discipline that leaves people with life defining memories and there isn’t anybody working on the Sir David Attenborough now who won’t still be talking about it in ten years’ time. We create national monuments and we need to inspire the next generation of young women to get excited about engineering.”

Mr Owen said engineering had given him the opportunity to visit 130 countries during his career. “If you are driven by challenges then engineering is a great environment to be in, but don’t wait for other people to give you these opportunities,” he said.

The day began with a visit to the neighbouring Engineering College, where Cammell Laird apprentices train, where Olivia Weston, a degree apprentice in the marketing department and a mentor for The Girls’ Network, talked about how engineering can cover all walks of life. “We’ve trained engineers who go on to fix machinery in intensive care departments, work in heavy industry or provide the audio-visual equipment in a George Ezra concert – engineering really is in everything you can think of,” she said.

The group then moved over to Cammell Laird where the girls heard from assistant ship manager Claire Biggar and former mechanical fitting apprentice Kirsten Blood, who is now a quality inspector in the tooling department.

Kirsten told the group: “The shipyard is fast-paced and ever-changing and there’s always a huge sense of achievement in everything we do. It can be a bit disheartening that there aren’t more female chief engineers or captains of ships, so we want to see more girls coming through the yard.”

Claire, a former Royal Navy weapons engineer, is currently overseeing the painting of the Sir David Attenborough.

“Ship building, and engineering, amazes me every day and it can be whatever you want it to be and take you wherever you want to go,” she said.

Carrie Harris, who led a tour of the Sir David Attenborough, will oversee the running of the vessel, which she told the group could involve everything from whether the radar was working to whether the toilets were flushing.

She said: “If you’re looking at an apprenticeship there’s a lot of job stability in engineering. It was by accident that I got into engineering but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

The International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) event aims to encourage more women into engineering careers and was backed by businesses and organisations across the industry.

Mersey Maritime
About Mersey Maritime
Mersey Maritime is the representative body for the Maritime Sector and related industry sectors operating across the Liverpool City Region. We work with businesses of all sizes and in all locations to develop strong, market-responsive supply chains and promote Liverpool’s maritime industry as a world class Centre of Excellence.

JOIN MERSEY MARITIME TODAY

Mersey Maritime is one of Europe’s most successful maritime cluster organisations, representing the interests of over 1700 Maritime, Logistics and Energy businesses on Merseyside and beyond.

Our Sponsors

Sponsorship of Mersey Maritime provides businesses with the opportunity for closer collaboration.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Sign up here to receive industry news straight into your inbox every month.

Cammell Laird and the Engineering College showcase careers for women at INWED event