Lindelee Ross talks about her career as a project delivery manager in the connections team at UK Power Networks to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day (IWED) on 23 June. International Women in Engineering Day (IWED)
Tell us about your background?
Growing up in South Africa I was interested in the arts and graphic design and wanted to work with animals. I was never exposed to other careers, like engineering. It wasn’t even talked about. I worked in IT until I moved to the UK in 2008. My first permanent job in the UK was in the UK Power Networks’ finance team.
How did you break into project management?
While I was working in income management, I completed PRINCE2 project management qualifications. I did that off my own bat during my holidays because it was something I wanted to do. Helping myself and forming new networks gave me a stepping-stone to my role today.
What does your job involve?
If a developer needs power for a new development, I manage the Independent Connection Providers (ICP) that carry out the installation and the internal operational teams that complete the final inspection and connection. I manage up to 200 projects every year.
Best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the people. It’s all about the people. If it wasn’t about that I wouldn’t have enjoyed my work as much as I do. Project management is about managing various tasks that involve people like customers, auditors and operational teams and making it sync together.
What makes you proud of your role?
I am proud of my role because I know I’m good at it. I will try to the bitter end to help my customers and my wider team and will do whatever I can to make it work. I very much believe that my relationship with the Independent Connection Providers (my customers), helps us work as a team.
Something I love about my job is that I can volunteer as a STEM Ambassador, promoting engineering careers in schools. I encourage kids to recognise that engineering is a possible career for them, because that was not available for me, before I came to UK Power Networks. That makes me excited, even if it’s one out of 100 kids, whose eyes are opened to engineering opportunities.
Advice to other young women on International Women in Engineering Day?
I do not believe success in a job is based on whether you are a woman or a man. It’s whether the job fits your personality. If it doesn’t suit your personality, you won’t cut it. It has to be a job you enjoy, and you should be willing to learn, develop and work at the same time.
At UK Power Networks I have always felt included. We have a big focus on inclusion for everyone, it’s one of the company’s biggest achievements, which it can be proud of.
If you could rewind your career, what would you do?
If I could rewind my career, I would have left school and been an apprentice, starting on the tools. It sets you up with a solid foundation for your future in engineering. Alongside City and Guilds, Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) and Higher National Certificate (HNC) qualification, the sky is the limit!
Advice to young people?
Everyone believes you need to be a maths boffin to come into engineering. It’s not the case. I got a distinction in my HNC without being a maths boffin. You just need to commit to the cause and remember it is your future. When you work in the industry, what you are learning makes sense. Life as an adult is very different from school and everyone has the capability to learn, the technique might just differ. Seek out a job which suits your personality and go for gold. You spend most of your time at work, so enjoy your job.
Notes to editor
Previous energy networks profiles:
- Laura O’Donnell, Despatch First Line Manager, Wales & West Utilities
- Lynne McDonald, Smart Grids Engineer and Manager, UK Power Networks
- Myfina Goddard, Pipeline Apprentice, Wales & West Utilities
- Laura Dunn, Senior Delivery Engineer, SP Energy Networks
- Farina Farrier, Head of Open Networks at Energy Networks Association
- Katharine Clench, Regional Development Programme Strategy Manager, National Grid ESO
- Elena Theodorou, Data Lead, Energy Networks Association
- Emily Jones, Communications Lead (Open Networks), Energy Networks Association
- Angela Schorah, DSO and Decarbonisation Engagement Manager, Electricity North West
- Helen Gaier-Laidlaw, Licence Programmes Manager, SP Energy Networks
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).