The exciting world of engineering offers a wealth of opportunities and Trafford College’s Head of Studies for the subject is keen to encourage more young people to join the profession.
Traditionally engineering has been seen as jobs for the boys, and although the number of females taking up courses in the subject area has increased in recent years, there is still some way to go to address the gender balance.
“Engineers change the world,” says Lorraine Yuill, who is passionate about raising the profile of engineering roles among young people, and in particular young women.
“If you care about the world and the people in it, if you see things that you think should be better, then be an engineer and improve them. There is room for everyone in engineering – so many skills are needed in such a wide variety of roles. And it is well paid!”
This year is the UK's 'Year of Engineering', an initiative which aims to tackle the engineering skills gap and encourage more young people into the profession. This Saturday, 23 June, also marks International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), a global celebration of females in the industry.
Intent on inspiring people into engineering, Lorraine joined the teaching profession wanting to show students about the diverse career paths available to them.
“When people think about engineering, many picture guys in hard hats or men operating machines,” says Lorraine. “But there’s so much more to engineering and sometimes people don’t fully realise how creative some of the roles are and how you might get there.
“You might start your career on the shop floor, without thinking about how many other options and opportunities there are to move into, and then progress on to technical and managerial jobs.”
Lorraine, whose previous roles in the education sector before joining Trafford College included engineering lecturer, assistant head of a STEM department and Advanced Practitioner for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, also brings with her a wealth of industry experience.
Among her varied roles, she has worked as a nuclear decommissioning project engineer at Sellafield, preparing an old nuclear reprocessing building at the end of its working life to be vacated safely.
This project included devising 3D models and simulations of the vessels to plan operations and robot programmes prior to utilising the robots to cut up vessels and tanks, so workers were not exposed to radiation during the operation. She later became a bid manager, coordinating teams to produce bids to win decommissioning work on other nuclear sites, before making the transition into teaching.
Lorraine joined Trafford College in November 2017 to head up the engineering department at the Stretford campus and now leads the department for the newly-merged Trafford College Group.
“Trafford College really appealed to me,” says Lorraine. “It has a wide range of qualifications and industry links with local and regional employers, plus the Manchester area has become a real focus point for innovation.
“There’s also a good mix of students; from Level 2 up to HND, and it includes those looking for their very first job, who are getting employment-ready and learning about the sector through to those already in a job looking to take their next step on the career ladder.”
She added: “It’s great to be part of a department where the tutors have such a wide range of skills and backgrounds; from academic PhDs to manufacturing backgrounds in multinational companies.”
The theme for INWED 2018 is 'Raising the bar' and to find out more, visit www.inwed.org.uk.