Engineer welcomes women into industry

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Derbyshire engineer Caroline Curzon is working hard to raise the profile of women in a previously male-dominated industry to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day.

June 23 marked the fourth year of this annual event, and there is no better advocate than Caroline, as she has spent almost 30 years in the exciting industry.

Caroline, who is network team manager at Western Power Distribution (WPD) in Alfreton, was fascinated by engineering at an early age and was planning to study architecture at college. But her interest in electronic engineering was sparked by a chance job opportunity at the Electricity Board.

She said: “I was in my final year at school and waiting for my exam results and secured a temporary job at my dad’s firm.

“The Electricity Board offices were located next door to my dad’s company. I was told about a job in the drawing office, got it and was allowed to do my architecture course on day release. By the time I completed the course, I was totally hooked on engineering and the electricity network.”

Following her first role in the industry, Caroline obtained an ONC and HNC in engineering at college. Since then, she has taken numerous roles in the business and been involved in key projects.

She said: “I’ve worked in planning, been a metering engineer and operations engineer, handling voltage complaints and managing network solutions before moving into senior engineering roles. Before my current role at WPD, I was an inspections and maintenance programme manager and a commercial manager.”

Caroline’s current role is team manager for the Alfreton area, where she oversees responsibility for the 1,800 km underground cable, 300km overhead line and more than 1,000 sub-stations that deliver power to 80,000 homes and businesses every day.

She is a real advocate for getting more females into the engineering industry.

“I love to see it when other females show an interest in engineering,” she said. “In the early days of my career it was tough being a female. I felt I had to prove myself much more than my male colleagues.

“Fortunately, I had a number of great colleagues and a fantastic family who supported and encouraged me.

“It’s much more accepted for women to be engineers today and I’d encourage females to give it a go.”