Home » Diversity in STEM » Ensuring diversity in recruitment of new talent

James Gilliver

Engineering Manager for Pipelines and Installations in Asset Engineering, National Grid

Kirsty McDermott

Senior Engineer, Welding, National Grid Gas Transmission

Diversity not only makes good business sense but also helps create a well-balanced team and one that represents your customer base.

There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in National Grid Gas Transmission, where we are at the centre of plans to decarbonise the UK’s energy system. At the same time, we need to ensure that 23 million households can depend on us to heat their homes, while we also provide for the needs of industry and 40% of electricity generation.

Nurturing new and existing talent

However, to fulfil our role – current and future – we need to work across our business and supply chain to reflect properly the communities that we serve and nurture the talents and skills of existing and new employees. We are passionate about encouraging and supporting women from all backgrounds to pursue a career in engineering.

For example, we are looking to achieve 50% diversity in all of our new talent programmes by 2025 and we have developed a number of programmes focused directly on developing women in our organisation.We have sponsored a ‘Women in Engineering’ project specifically to increase the number of women hired, targeting women leaving education or returning from career breaks, we also tackle any barriers that women face at work once they have joined.

We are looking to achieve 50% diversity in all of our new talent programmes by 2025.

Progression opportunities for engineers

Kirsty McDermott, who is a member of my team, is a great example of how capable engineers can progress in our business. She secured a place on the Gas Transmission Engineer Training Programme having started work at 16 and completed a welding apprenticeship at a local training academy. She is now Senior Engineer (Welding) and an acknowledged expert on welding and materials.

Kirsty, had to face a number of additional hurdles as she progressed and discouragements that no one should have to face.

Breaking stereotypes

“That sort of attitude has always made me want to prove myself to others even more – I love challenging stereotypes. Your age or gender should never define what you want to do,” Kirsty says.

She has been named one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering by the Women’s Engineering Society and this year received a Rising Star Award by We Are The City.

Apart from the wider benefits of empowering women at National Grid, it also makes absolute business sense – for me, it brings the benefits of an engineering team that is well balanced and represents our customer base.

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