International Women in Engineering Day | Lucy Nicoll | Blog

As we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, Lucy Nicoll, a welder/fabricator at Sheffield Forgemasters, talks about her experiences at one of the UK’s most specialised engineering companies.

“My grandad used to work here in the 1970s and I always remember looking at the plant from the train as I went to school every morning. I was told that Sheffield Forgemasters was a great place to work and I was excited to join the company after my successful application for an apprenticeship in 2018.

“I joined the company as the first female apprentice welder/fabricator and have just completed my apprenticeship, achieving Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ qualifications in Fabrication and Welding alongside numerous other skills.

“My job involves a wide range of tasks from fabricating numerous components, such as cages, handrails and pipework, to doing weld-repairs on furnaces and working inside vast steel ladles.

“No day is ever the same here, one day I can be installing pipework in the foundry and the next day I could be in the machine shop replacing floor plates around a machine. With the variation of jobs and departments to work in, you can never lose interest as you’re always doing something different.

“I would 100 per cent recommend an apprenticeship in engineering. I think apprenticeships are the best way to learn, especially if you’re more of a hands-on learner, like myself.

“When I joined Sheffield Forgemasters I wasn’t treated any differently to my co-workers, who embraced me and helped me to work to the best of my abilities. I’ve never been treated differently because I’m a woman and found that everyone quickly embraced me being there, which was a great start for the many strong working partnerships I have.

“My colleagues have taught me all I know about fabrication and welding, if it wasn’t for their willingness I wouldn’t be where I am today. The company staff have put me through multiple training courses, ranging from getting my cherry-picker license, to a course on working in confined spaces, all of which has aided my professional development.

“I was so proud of myself when I completed my apprenticeship this year. It was overwhelming to see my certificates come through the post. My career aims are to master my work and increase my ability to organise and complete work for a department on my own.”