Jade Wilkinson, Subject Leader in Mechanical Engineering (PEO) is an inspiring tutor and a valued member of the Warrington & Vale Royal College community. Jade has carved out a highly successful career within her field and shares her experiences and advice about women in engineering in this insightful interview.
Can you describe your educational and industry background?
I completed my Level 3 advanced apprenticeship where I did fabrication and welding. I had done 2 years of motor vehicle prior to this also. I completed my apprenticeship at a company where they manufactured expansion joints for pipelines. I left this company to gain more experience and broaden my knowledge further, I then went on fabricate and weld cable management systems.
What is your specific area of engineering and why did you choose it?
Mechanical Engineering and fabrication and Welding. I love TIG welding as I see it as a form of art once you have spent so long mastering the technique. I love cars and finding out how things work and that is why I enjoy the mechanical side of Engineering.
What has your experience been like as a female in this industry?
I have found that in the beginning I had to work harder than the males in my college group as I felt I had a point to prove, however I have always been welcomed with great positivity and many people asking about how and why I got into this industry.
Do you feel that more female students are choosing to study engineering?
Yes, a lot more students are coming into engineering. I have taught girls every year for the last 6 years and they are asking more questions and seeing the opportunities they have in the industry.
What advice would you give to girls considering a career in engineering?
Work hard and do what you enjoy. My great gran was a welder when the men went to war; those women set the foundations for women in engineering so now all we have to do is apply.
What advice would you give to a female student considering engineering at Warrington & Vale Royal College?
Many female students have found it less daunting attending a college with a female tutor. I for one am a huge advocate for females in engineering and the employers we work with are keen to have more female engineers in the workforce.
Do you feel the industry is changing and seeing a rise of female workers?
The industry has changed dramatically; the stereotypes are disappearing and I walk into many companies where the manager is a female engineer with a high level degree directing a team of people. Employers are very keen to promote females as women are very conscientious and are very career driven.
If you feel inspired by Jade’s story and are considering one of our engineering courses, you can find out more and apply on our website.
You can also find out more about International Women in Engineering Day here.