News & Events

24 June | 2024

International Women in Engineering Day: ‘I’ve dreamed of being an engineer since I was a little girl’

Today is International Women in Engineering Day, which celebrates the amazing work of female engineers around the world.

By Molly Steele, Trainee Design Engineer at ICR Group, Carnforth

I’ve dreamed of being an engineer since I was a little girl.

Watching my dad, I always admired his work as an engineer. He travelled to a lot of different countries; engineering has given him so many opportunities. The way you can work with your hands and use your brain to work out solutions was really appealing to me.

While at Morecambe High School, I did work experience where my dad was based and gained a real insight into engineering. I knew then that it was the route I wanted to take.

Studying engineering at college and through my apprenticeship, I found my love for it. No two days were ever the same and I was constantly being challenged with new problems to solve.

I studied Level 3 Engineering for a year at Lancaster & Morecambe College. I was then offered an apprenticeship where I learned how to operate manual machines and basic use of CAD software. I went on to study Level 3 BTEC, an NVQ in Engineering and my NEBOSH general certificate. I’m currently studying an HNC in Mechanical Engineering at Kendal College and I hope to do an HND.

I was the only female on all my college courses, and I found that apprenticeships were often workshop based… these can be quite masculine environments. Understandably it was a challenge and I felt lonely at times, but I’m glad I persevered.

I joined ICR in September 2023 as a Workshop Technician for the Repair & Maintenance of On-site Machines, which gave me the chance to really grow my skillset.

ICR have been amazing in supporting my drive to develop my skills and I was given a six-month secondment in the Design Engineering division. I feel like I have found my ‘calling’ in this role – as this uses the best of my skills and challenges me every day.

Just two months into my secondment, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Engineering team as a Trainee Design Engineer … the highlight of my career so far.

I’m still dipping my toe into the engineering space, but I’ve been working with experienced Design Engineers to help design equipment for our machinery, making fixtures and learning how to use our 3D scanner.

Making something from scratch and seeing it become a model and then potentially a product that can make a difference is really satisfying.

The mentoring I get from my experienced colleagues is amazing and has really helped my confidence. Having them look out for me and helping me develop shows me that I’m good enough.

My end goal is to be the best version of myself. I want to push myself to give my all to the business as I know not everyone gets that opportunity.

There are always challenges – for men and women – but if you’re hardworking and driven they can be overcome. Being a female in engineering is great and I’m proud that I can be part of that. If there are any females doubting themselves my advice would be, believe in yourself and push forward … it’s worth it!

Jody Wells, Head of Sales – Carnforth, ICR Group, said: “It says so much for Molly that she persevered through some periods where she lacked in confidence and felt isolated in a male environment. She thrived, showing resilience in a career she felt massively passionate about.

“What Molly does is technically challenging and she’s a great example of how hard work combined with experienced mentoring and support can truly bring out someone’s potential. We’re proud at ICR to support International Women in Engineering Day and help ensure everyone gets the opportunity to fulfil their career aspirations.”

In this, INWED’s 11th year, the theme is #enhancedbyengineering which celebrates the impact the profession can make towards everyday lives.

INWED gives women engineers around the world a profile when they are still hugely under-represented, with 2021 figures indicating that in the UK only 16.5% of engineers are women. For more information on INWED, go to https://www.inwed.org.uk/

ICR Group provides integrated maintenance and integrity solutions to the energy, power, nuclear, telecommunications and defence industries. The company’s innovative services include inspection, repair, and maintenance – utilising advanced technologies to address corrosion and structural challenges. ICR has operations in the UK and worldwide.

Headquartered in Aberdeen, ICR operates in global locations with operations in the UK, Norway, Abu Dhabi, USA and Australia as well as partners all over the world. For more information, https://www.icr-world.com/