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23 June 2020

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Women in Engineering: Interview with Nicole Curran

In celebration of Women in Engineering day, we talk to our engineer Nicole Curran about her own experiences in entering into a previously male dominated industry.

Nicole Curran UK Connect

Q: Who are you and what you do?

My name is Nicole Curran and I am currently working as a Service Delivery Technician for UK Connect. It is my responsibility to deliver UK Connects communication products and solutions. In any given day I can be given the task to install 4G broadband, VOIP telephone systems and Wi-Fi access points, all while ensuring I deliver the best service for our customers. This can often mean having to install additional kit such as external antennas and long lengths of CAT5 cable. Often our equipment must be discrete and installs are to be of a high standard as many of our customers are in a sales suite where appearance is everything, so challenges can arise when it comes to mounting antennas, drilling holes and running lengths of cable both inside and outside the building. Each job is different and the ability to adapt to different environments and different customer needs is paramount. The job is fantastic and has had me installing broadband in places I never thought I would, such as MOD training camps.

Q: Tell us a bit about how you got into engineering as a job role? 

decided to drop out of college early, just after applying for university to go into television and media production. I got to a point where I felt as though I was following a generic path already mapped out for me and I wasn’t happy and so took the chance to get out of the education system and find something I’d enjoy. I’ve always been quite hands on and active so I went with that and tried to find something more physically challenging but also rewarding, I found an apprenticeship with Virgin Media who interviewed me and offered me a place on their scheme within a couple of months and the rest is history! 

Q: What inspires you about Engineering? 

For me, I love the sense of achievement I get from doing a good job, be it a challenging installation or repairing something which goes hand in hand with helping people. No two jobs are the same and you’re always in new places meeting new people. There’s lots of opportunity for personal development too, within engineering it’s constantly changing, new technologies and products are developed constantly and so there’s always something new to learn. 

Don’t be afraid to do what you love even if it makes you the odd one out, you will find yourself often being the only woman in your class/team/company but don’t be deterred, use that to make yourself stand out and you’ll be successful in your field.

Nicole Curran

Service Delivery Technician

UK Connect

Q: What challenges do women face in the Engineering professions/academia? 

The gap for gender equality is still huge and women are still very much a minority in all aspects of engineering, this is something that can only be changed by challenging it. For as long as I can remember opportunities within engineering have always been aimed towards men and it’s up to women to step forward and prove that we are just as able.

I have faced personal challenges throughout my working life where I have had to prove I’m capable of something, where the only reason there is doubt is because I’m a petite female and I don’t fit the profile of the stereotypical engineer. Gender roles are certainly not relevant anymore and it is great we are now seeing positive changes as we move forward, female engineers are starting to become the ‘new norm’.

Q: Would you still become an engineer if you could do it all over again? 

Absolutely! The one thing I tell myself constantly is that if I could go back to 16-year-old me knowing what I know now I’d have focused my attention on topics I enjoy and would have considered the apprenticeship that was only being offered to the boys in my school! I’m a strong advocate for apprenticeship learning for kids that struggle in classroom environments. 

Q: What advice do you have for girls/women interested becoming an engineer? 

Don’t be afraid to do what you love even if it makes you the odd one out, you will find yourself often being the only woman in your class/team/company but don’t be deterred, use that to make yourself stand out and you’ll be successful in your field. There’s a huge demand for women in engineering and so much opportunity for us to create equality and abolish gender roles for good. 

Q: Lastly, would you like to share any other stories/relevant advice to our readers?

A lot of larger companies with engineer roles are creating schemes to get women into engineering, they offer additional training and support as they try to shrink the ratio of male to female engineer in the workplace. These opportunities are open to all ages and backgrounds, so it could be the start of your career or the career change you’ve been craving for years. 

UK Connect are an equal opportunities employer, to find out more about working at UK Connect and what roles are currently available please visit our careers page.

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“Working with UK Connect has been a smooth and easy process. The team has been fantastic by going above and beyond, getting our broadband installed for us within extremely tight deadlines and ensuring the client relationship is done in an efficient manner. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the UK Connect team, as I find they are highly reliable and have good attention to detail and carry out the job to an exceptional standard.

Jonny Leivesley

Redrow Homes

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