8 ways to inspire a new generation of women engineers
Female engineers at Knauf Insulation give advice on how to encourage more women to take up engineering as a career.
1. DEMYSTIFY THE JOB
“I think there is a preconception that the construction industry is a mucky, hands-on and labour-intensive industry and there needs to be
a drive to show girls this is not the case,” says Rebecca Wilde, a Process Engineer at our new plant being built in Johor Bahru in Malaysia.
2. INSPIRE DIVERSITY
New graduate engineer Anastasia Parlali says: “Construction companies could initiate more visits for students – especially women – to become familiar with engineering.” Ayşe Okumuş, a Maintenance Planner at our Eskisehir plant in Turkey, agrees. “Turkish companies in construction don’t employ women. There is one – their motto is ‘a she for a he’ – this is a major step forward and I’m hoping it will become widespread. Women can do anything men can do.”
3. KEEP LEARNING
“My advice for female engineers? Keep motivation high and learning constant,” says Giuliana Rivituso, an International Process Engineer at our Illange plant in France. “Embrace new learning opportunities,” says Karina Berlig, Production Manager at our Bernburg site in Germany. She started her career as a food production nutritionist before taking over laboratory management at Bernburg. Three years ago, she took charge of the plant’s production.
4. BE YOURSELF
Camilla Saltini, an International Process Engineer at our Novi Marof site, Croatia, says: “Be yourself, you are an engineer just like your male colleagues. Be confident in your abilities and proud to be a woman in this field.”
5. LEARN TO STAND OUT
“Being in a male-dominated industry means it is easier to standout as long as you remain confident and true to who you are,” says Eleanor Brown, an Assistant Product Manager at our St Helens Plant in the UK. Jana Lovásová, HSE and Systems Manager at our Krupka plant in the Czech Republic, says: “Some work situations aren’t easy, but it’s vital to keep a cool head, keep positive and never give up.”
6. SEEING IS BELIEVING
“We all need to tell women that it is possible to reach positions that were previously occupied by men,” says Camilla. “We need to show examples of women working in this field and share experiences. Explain that their help is fundamental to achieving new goals and gender diversity.”
7. BREAK DOWN STEREOTYPES
“Encouraging women into the industry needs to begin at school as there are so many gender stereotypes about jobs starting at an early age,” says Eleanor. “I’m sure seeing or talking to a female engineer when I found my love for physics would have made me consider it as an option earlier.”
8. FIND A MENTOR
“To succeed it helps to find a mentor you can talk to and who can push you,” says Rebecca. “I got to know plenty of strong female engineers who guided me in the right direction.” The final word goes to Margaux Dorthu, Process Engineer at our Visé plant in Belgium. “What advice would I offer women considering a career in engineering? Just go for it!”
Personal and professional insight
> Our Knauf Insulation New Educational Offer (KINEO) is designed to develop new skills for the future and a key aspect of this involves better understanding ourselves and how we are perceived at work.
> We have launched a 360-degree review offering colleagues the chance to answer questions related to our values, principles and brand identity and get feedback from peers, managers and direct reports. The survey aims to explore leadership behaviour, strengths and development potential and align a development plan with the manager.
> In Russia and CIS we are adopting a customised approach to training to equip our colleagues with the individualised skills they need for specific roles and support motivated development more effectively.
> We are also working on ways to bring the Knauf Values of Commitment, Partnership, Entrepreneurship and Menschlichkeit to life in Russia and CIS using workshops, online tools to ‘deep dive’ into values and recognition cards to show appreciation for role models