As we celebrate International Women's Day 2022, we take a look at the role of some of the women who work in the UK's energy networks. Sammy-Jo Evans is carving out a career as a specialist engineer at UK Power Networks which delivers electricity across London, the East and South East.
Sammy-Jo started as an apprentice back in 2014, graduating to being an Electrical Fitter based at Stansted Airport, before moving to her current role as a Control Engineer based in Ipswich, Suffolk.
“In terms of progression it’s all gone faster for me than I would have imagined. I’m still only 24 and have quite a senior role with a lot of responsibility, I thought I would have been older in reaching this point so that’s been really pleasing.
“This remains an industry, certainly at operational level, in which being a woman does place me in a minority, but I would say even in the seven years I’ve been involved there have been improvements in this regard.
“I can’t deny there was some banter to deal with in a male-dominated workplace, but people are more accepting generally now and hopefully that’s a trend which only continues.
“One of the challenges is feeling that people have confidence in your ability, but that’s about proving yourself and showing what you can do. I was 16 when I started and would always advise any girl that age now to go for it if that’s what they want to do. I sing in a band and have performed in stage shows and when I was 16 I did have the option of looking at performing arts courses, but I felt that this industry would offer me greater job security and I don’t regret that choice.
“This coming year I’ve really got to focus on my work as I have tests to become authorised and progress in my current role. You do still get people bemused when they hear what I do, but when I explain to them what’s involved they generally just think it’s amazing and congratulate me.”
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).
Energy supplier or network operator? Energy network operators are entirely separate to your energy supplier, which is the company that bills you for using electricity and gas. Energy suppliers and generators are represented by Energy UK.