Joanne Hanratty has a successful career with Northern Gas Networks and shows that just because a field of work is male-orientated, it doesn’t mean it’s out of reach.
Where do you call home?
I am originally from Redcar, but now live in Eaglescliffe.
Tell us about your role?
I am a below 7bar network analyst working for Northern Gas Networks (NGN).
How did you get to where you are today?
I started on a youth training scheme and once the year scheme finished, I was the only trainee out of 40 who managed to gain full time employment with NGN. Initially, I worked in the gas showrooms, but found this wasn’t the work I was really interested in and applied for jobs within the head office. After various admin jobs, I applied and was successful in gaining a job with the engineering section and realised this was much more interesting and exciting.
What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?
It was a struggle to get into the engineering section, as this was predominantly a male environment. I had to prove that, as a woman, engineering was something I could understand and be treated as an equal.
Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?
I remember attending a meeting on a huge new housing site where I was the only woman out of 15 men. I was asked difficult engineering questions, which I was able to answer, and remember feeling so proud that I was respected. I resolved some issues the site was having with the specifications of the design and deliverance of the gas mains.
Do you have any advice to aspiring young females?
Don’t be put off if the work you are eager to pursue is male-orientated – you will get the help and encouragement you need.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would encourage myself to go to university and study engineering. Although I have had a great career without a degree, I have had to study and complete exams during my working life that I wouldn’t have had to do if I’d had an engineering degree.
What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?
Money, satisfaction, achievement.
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