From administration clerk to project coordinator and onto trainee gas network designer…Gemma Forrest’s career at Energy Assets is really taking off, thanks to her skill and determination - and the supportive culture of the company.
Gemma, based in Livingston, has just passed her second module on the road to achieving Gas Industry Registration Scheme (GIRS) accreditation and now has just two more stages to go to realise her ambition of becoming a qualified designer. She is currently working as a site co-ordinator for the gas design team and has certainly come a long way since she started with the company in an administrative role.
During her 10 years with Energy Assets, Gemma has worked in many departments, including customer services, key accounts, and planning, and this provided her with considerable industry insight. As it turned out, this breadth of experience stood her in good stead as she planned a new chapter in her career.
Said Gemma: “At one point, I was concerned that I might have gone as far as I could with Energy Assets – but when I discussed this with my manager, he suggested that I work towards the GIRS accreditation.
“Working as a project delivery coordinator, I had seen at first-hand what was involved in the gas design side of the business and with that insight I was very happy to be given the opportunity to take on a fresh goal.”
The City and Guilds GIRS qualification is rigorous. After an introductory exam, there are four modules reflecting the work of a designer, such as designing a gas service up to the meter, including installation, network maps and calculations for pressure drops.
To help Gemma through the process, Energy Assets provided a mentor to assist her with practical skills and offer support with assignments. She is due to become GIRS accredited by October 2020.
Gemma is a great example of how Energy Assets promotes a culture of people retention and development, in line with its core values covering Respect, Integrity, Innovate, Teamwork and Empowerment.
“We aim to identify, attract, develop and retain high performing talent, such as Gemma, across all roles in our businesses, providing support through mentoring, industry-approved qualifications and continuous training and development. In this way, we become stronger as a company through the success of our people.” said Jennifer Faichney, Head of HR at Energy Assets
This strategy includes actively supporting greater diversity within the business and the wider energy industry, particularly in engineering where females are still underrepresented.
In line with this commitment, Energy Assets has entered into a partnership with the Womens Utilities Network (WUN) – an organisation dedicated to ensuring women possess the skills and confidence they need to build lasting, fulfilling careers in the utility sector. The company will be the lead sponsor for the first-ever WUN event in Scotland in 2020.
Says Gemma: “It remains a male-dominated field at the moment, but the only way to change this is for more women to enter the profession. I was the only woman on the initial week-long GIRS introductory course and I would like to see that change.
“I do think sometimes people may underestimate me because I’m a woman, but that only gives me a greater determination to succeed. If there are any women or girls thinking of joining the profession, I would say go for it. What really matters is that you have the right training, the support of your company and the motivation to succeed.”
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