NORTHERN Gas Networks (NGN), the North of England’s gas distributor, is urging more women to explore the career opportunities available in the energy sector. 

Today (Thursday, June 23) is the ninth year that International Women in Engineering Day (IWED) has been marked in the UK.

Run by the Women’s Engineering Society, its aim is to raise the profile of women working in engineering and focus attention on the many opportunities available to girls and women in the engineering sector. Currently, 16.5% of engineers are women.

This year’s IWED theme is Inventors and Innovators. At NGN,  which transports gas across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Cumbria, women are leading the work programmes focused on delivering a greener energy system to the UK.

Freya Osment was one of three women who joined the gas distribution network in 2021 as an Electrical and Instrumentation apprentice.

She said: “I always wanted to do something involving engineering. My dad was a mine engineer, and then moved into precision engineering and lathe work. Growing up I was kind of a tomboy, and I liked helping him out, helping fix things.

“At secondary school, I did the usual subjects but after I left, I went to college to study General Engineering which I did for three years. That involved CAD, lathe work, welding. In my class of 30 students, I was the only girl. But I was in Army Cadets between 13 and 18, and always enjoyed doing logical things so it just felt like the right fit for me.

“I’m an Electrical and Instrumentation apprentice, so I monitor and calibrate equipment that controls temperatures and pressures on the network, making sure everything is within specification.

“My advice to any girl considering engineering would be to go for it, don’t worry about what people think and be yourself. If you like being out and about, days that are very different from each other and logical ways of working then it’s a great job to be doing.”