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Annie Thomson making her mark on Women in Utilities Success Programme

Annie Thomson making her mark on Women in Utilities Success Programme

21 October 2020

Annie Thomson, Regional Customer Operations Administrator at Northern Gas Networks (NGN), started the first of 15 days of free training with Develop earlier this month. Annie is one of 8 women on the Women in Utilities Success Programme, designed to accelerate the careers of women in the utilities industry, provide advocacy and mentoring to support pathways to leadership roles.

The first of 15 days free specialist training

Annie undertook a two day Core Domestic Meter Installation & Commissioning (Limited Scope) course at Develop's specialist training centre in Derby. Despite having little to no experience as a gas operative, Annie threw herself into the training and was soon on her way to understanding the basics of how to install and commission domestic gas sized meters that are sealed off at the meter outlet fitting.

Annie said, "I've really enjoyed these two days of training and I feel that the course has given me a good grasp of domestic gas meters and what the team installing and maintaining them have to do to ensure they're carrying out the work safely."

A solid foundation from which to progress her career

Gas & Electrical Lecturer, Dave Hudson, said, "It was fantastic to have Annie on my training course; she really got stuck in with the other delegates and didn't shy away from taking on tasks that she had no prior knowledge of. It's clear that Annie will benefit greatly from this training as although she’s not a qualified gas engineer, the knowledge she’s gained will help to give her a solid foundation from which to progress her career and gain respect from her colleagues."

Women in the gas industry have to work incredibly hard to prove themselves and gain respect

Annie applied for the Women in Utilities programme almost a year ago, and her reason for doing so was simple; she aspires to be a Site Manager and feels that in order to be taken seriously in such a male dominated industry she needs to have a thorough understanding of the gas industry and the complex practical work that is carried out on a daily basis.

Annie explains, "I feel that women in the gas industry have to work incredibly hard to prove themselves and gain respect, purely because it's such a male dominated industry. I wanted to be a part of this programme because of the exposure it'll give me to different areas of the business and the knowledge it will allow me to gain that I would never normally have the opportunity, or access to, in my day to day administrative role.

She continues, "NGN have been really supportive and have encouraged me to attend a wide variety of training - I've even been going out on site with the fitters to learn more about what their day to day work is like and they've been really welcoming and happy to answer my many questions! I feel really lucky to work for a company that wants to help me progress my career, especially in uncertain times like these."

Women working in Utilities make up a small percentage of the workforce

Chris Adair, Training Manager at Northern Gas Networks said: "We are proud to support, not just Annie, but all women to engage in our sector. Women working in Utilities make up a small percentage of not just our workforce but across the entire Gas Distribution Network. Annie is keen to progress and she is an ambassador for both women and NGN."

Service and Mainlaying Skills for Managers

Annie is already booked on to attend her next training course with Develop - Service and Mainlaying Skills for Managers. This 5 day course provides awareness of service and mainlaying to help managers better plan and supervise others in Network Construction Operations. Whilst on the course Annie will undertake a range of practical exercises including learning how to lay, test and commission Polyethylene Pipe services and Butt Fusion/Electro Fusion techniques.

We'll catch up with Annie again in a few weeks to find out how she's getting on and see if she's managed to put her new found knowledge to good use.

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