National Highways has supported the next generation of female engineers and manufacturing professionals at a special careers event taking place in Hull.
the Women into Manufacturing and Engineering Public Careers Fair highlighted the world of opportunities for women to join these fast-paced and exciting sectors.
During the day, about 200 girls from schools across the Humber area attended the event, with around 70 women going along in the evening. The event aimed to drive positive change in terms of gender balance in the workplace, challenge stereotypes and inspire girls and women to consider careers in these industries.
Among the inspirational females offering a glimpse into the industries was Frances Oliver. Frances is the National Highways Project Manager for the A63 Castle Street improvement scheme, which is transforming Hull city centre. She oversees this £355m upgrade which will improve access to the port, reduce congestion and enhance safety as well as connections between the city centre and tourist and recreational facilities.
Frances said: “I hope to promote equality so that women and girls don’t feel that, if they do go for those roles, they will be the only female on their team. You can’t be what you can’t see.”
After graduating from the University of York in 2006 with a BA Degree in Linguistics, Frances joined National Highways in 2007. Having initially joined the agency in the HR department, she went on to become involved in financial management for IT projects.
She later became involved in project management, which she said was a great way to be part of something fast-paced and public facing.
She moved into Major Projects in 2012. Supported by the organisation, Frances worked her way up, going on to be assistant project manager for the A63 scheme before becoming project manager. She says: “I’ve been involved in a variety of construction projects, but this is the biggest construction project I’ve seen – and I get to be manager of it!”
Frances says she doesn’t recall seeing a female engineer or project manager growing up: “I think, if you can’t see something, you’re not aware you can do it. I want to promote the fact that there are great roles out there for everyone and there are all kinds of women doing them. I work with fantastic women in our team.
The WiME event was led by Green Port Hull. This is a collaboration between Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and North Lincolnshire Council to promote investment and development of the renewable energy sector in the Humber region. It also aims to support investors and their supply chains to secure long-term economic growth for the area.”