Changing the Stereotype – Women in the Workshop
Jobs in the transport industry, especially those in the workshop, are often seen as jobs for men. But why? We want to change the stereotype, and show that all roles in our industry are for everyone. We chose to catch up with Katie Batt, our apprentice technician at Witham, to get her thoughts on being the only female in the workshop – for now…
I started as an apprentice HGV technician at Witham in September last year. In my role, I’m learning to maintain and repair commercial vehicles and trailer. At the moment, I’m mainly shadowing other technicians to pick up new skills, but there are some jobs like starting off an inspection that I can do on my own.
How did you become an apprentice HGV technician?
I’ve always had an interest in mechanics. My Dad works as a paramedic for the emergency services, and one day they had a problem with one of their vehicles. Scania Assistance came out to fix the issue, and my Dad told the technician I was looking to get into mechanics. The assistance technician told him about the apprenticeships that TruckEast offer, so as soon as I found out I went online and applied.
What do you like about your job?
I really like the environment I work in, it’s totally different to school. There’s a real atmosphere in the workshop with so many people, so much going on and different personalities.
Do you think we need more females in the industry?
Yes definitely, I’d really like that. I think the problem is that there are a lot of stereotypes with different job roles. Just because I’m a girl from Essex, people think that I should be a beautician, but that’s not the case. At school, it was mainly A levels and College that were promoted over apprenticeships, so I just think there needs to be more awareness of mechanical apprenticeships to show that they are for anyone and everyone.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully as a qualified technician, really enjoying what I do! I would like to think I’d have grown to be a better technician as well as a better person with the help of those around me.
What’s it like being the only woman in your team?
It’s really different from school, working with all men and with a much older group. I really appreciate the effort everyone has made to include me and make me feel welcome; they even involve me in the banter!
Is there any advice you’d give to other women considering your career path?
I’d just say to have an open mind, you might have some people that don’t understand why you’d want to do the job but that doesn’t matter because only you control your destiny. There’s nothing to stop you succeeding in a male dominated environment, it’s quite a manual job but there’s nothing you won’t be able to do!