Being a female engineer in logistics: Our sit down with Vicki from Don-Bur #ChoosetoChallenge
Don-Bur, the market champions for the design and manufacture of the complete range of commercial vehicle trailers and rigid bodywork, along with System Group as a chosen, key learning and people development partner, are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with the launch of our Improvement Technician Six Sigma programme.
In celebration of Women’s History Month across the month of March and International Women’s Day, we caught up with Vicki Worthington, Engineer at Don-Bur, on her birthday. In a 2018 report we found that women made up 13% of all engineers within the UK, so we sat down to discuss her journey and what challenges she undertook to pursue her dream career within transport and logistics.
Firstly Happy Birthday. Could you tell us a brief description of your role within Don-Bur?
Thank you. I started as a temp design engineer within the engineering department here at Don-Bur which involved very hands-on responsibility on the shopfloor. I have gradually progressed to item costing before it’s fed into the production. At the moment I’m doing costings mostly for sales and looking at costings for projects and feeding it back into the company as well as being a member of the engineering department.
What made you join and start a career in your field of work?
I had an interest in engineering and aircraft at a young age, so I went into my A-levels with that in mind and then progressed to a degree to pursue my dream job as an engineer. What initially started my journey, however, was watching Top Gun and seeing the actress Kelly McGillis walk into a room full of men and thought I want to be her.
What do you love about your job?
What I love about my job is the variety in responsibility. I’m not a person who likes sitting at a desk all day, I feel like I’m making a difference. On the production floor, I get to see it being built and then I see it driving up the motorway. I see the end product which I’ve contributed to.
What preconceptions about the industry could be deterring other women from pursuing a career in Transport & Logistics and how can you challenge them?
Engineering is perceived as a male-dominated field, rightly so as it is, however, it’s down to the individual. But it’s an environment that has changed me. I’ve grown in confidence and I’ve gotten stronger. When I first started out in Engineering, I thought everyone knew more than me due to age and being male, but that all changed when I found my voice. It helps when my colleagues are supportive. Being a woman, if I make a mistake I do stand out like a sore thumb. But it also has it’s up side of being a minority within recruitment you stand out more and leave a memorable impression.
I’ve just fit in really well in this environment. My fellow engineers and colleagues on the shopfloor are encouraging and provide a welcoming surrounding.
What steps are your employers taking to improve representation of women in the industry?
Speaking from our recruitment sector, we never ever put aside a CV based on gender. We’ve just recently appointed another female colleague a couple of months ago who is one of the few women on the shopfloor, she’s down in the fitting shop, she’s working on the trailer chassis. She’s in the thick of it and she works hard every day. We would not deter any female from applying and we openly encourage applications.
What advice would you give to other women considering a career in your field?
If you’ve already considered it, go for it. I’ve been made to feel so welcome at Don-Bur. I started initially as a temp and a few weeks ago was my two year anniversary. I haven’t looked back.