She's an Engineer- Jane Wilkie

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Route into engineering

I started my career as an Electrical Engineering graduate in Electrical design for SSEB just in time for privatisation of the industry. I have seen a lot of change but it has allowed me access to a lot of opportunity. I have worked in power stations, consultancy, operations, design, investment planning, price review development, restructures and have moved from technical roles to more management roles all within the same company. In amongst it I had two children, worked part time and have had the privilege of working with some amazing people.

Job description

My job is to manage a team of 90 people responsible for operating and investing in the electricity network in the Cheshire and Warrington area. Our aim is to maintain reliable supplies of electricity 24/7 to all our customers and connect new customers who require it.

A day in my life starts early with a check on the network to see if anything unusual has happened overnight and whether we have customer's off supply. I then check the plans for the day and whether there is anything that needs my intervention to fix. Once I'm happy everything is running smoothly then my focus can shift onto more long term planning and performance improvement. In a reactive business the day can change and plans get thrown out the window so an ability to react calmly is a must for this job. I end most days with a check in to my management team so I know we are all moving in the same direction to achieve for the business.

Do what feels right to you. Listen to advice you are given but in the end make your own decision.   I think at 15, I was too worried about what other people might think of my choices. Be confident in your own ability and do what makes you happy.

The best thing is without a doubt the satisfaction of seeing people develop over the years.
The worst thing is running out of time in the day to do everything I set out to achieve.

The industry I joined 30 years will be un-recognisable - electricity will be so much more than a commodity and the customer expectation for reliability at an affordable price will be much greater.  The way we generate and distribute will be turned on its head with flexible, net zero carbon aspirations driving everything we do for customers. Technology we haven't even thought of will be developed and what an exciting time to be a young engineer it will be.

The community it gives you if you ever need support, whether technical or more personal.  There are like minded individuals out there who you can share with.

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