Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar school played host to five inspirational women at a special event last Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day.
Stagecoach engineer Liz Eades was joined on stage by Jane Priston of the Amy Johnson Project, leading international human rights advocate Kate Allen, airline pilot Captain Marnie Munns and local councillor Bernadette Fisher. The five women were invited to talk to year 10 students about their lives and careers.
The annual event revolved around the keynote women speakers with students breaking off into workshops to discuss the issues raised that included the role of positive discrimination; how to achieve a more gender balanced culture and the challenges facing feminism in the modern world.
The day was organised by Key Stage 3 Assistant Head Nick Hayes. Mr Hayes said “Our International Women’s Day event is a celebration of women and their achievements, but it’s also about empowering young women to achieve their ambitions. This year we had an inspirational collection of speakers from widely different careers.” He added, “It was particularly exciting that engineering featured so strongly - an industry where women have traditionally been conditioned to exclude themselves.”
Liz Eades began working for Stagecoach in 2011 after serving four years in the army. She toured Iraq for six months in late 2003 and was then posted to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers where she gained City & Guilds qualifications in mechanical engineering. Having joined Stagecoach initially as a bus driver, Liz moved to the workshop where she was able to develop her engineering skills further. She became a fully qualified PSV mechanic last September just two years after starting as an improver mechanic at the company’s Dover depot.
Speaking at the event Liz said “When I left the army I was semi-skilled so I didn’t consider that I could get into an engineering career very easily. As a Stagecoach driver I built-up a good rapport with the engineering team, then one day a job opportunity came up in the workshop and I went for it. It was great that Stagecoach recognised my potential and gave me that opportunity to progress so quickly. I’m now fully qualified and loving the job.”
Stagecoach offers an award winning apprenticeship scheme for aspiring engineers. New starters can expect to become fully qualified in just four years with accelerated career development opportunities after completion of the programme. The apprenticeship involves on-the-job training alongside a qualified mentor and attendance at a specialist training college to obtain formal qualifications. Apprentices will also earn as they learn as Stagecoach offers a competitive pay package with women are paid the same as men. More information is available at stagecoachbus.com/careers