Celebrating our engineers
We’re proud to celebrate our female engineers on International Women in Engineering Day, with this year’s theme being ‘Inventors and Innovators’.
Great engineers are crucial for making steel and aluminium. But did you know that women in engineering are still hugely underrepresented in their professions, representing just 16.5% of engineers?
Meet five up-and-coming engineers from across our GFG family who are carving out their own paths in our industry…

Francesca Brogi – OCL1 Production Manager at LIBERTY Magona, Italy

“I followed my love for science, my fascination with construction and my appetite for a challenge”

In choosing engineering as a career, I followed my long-held love for science and my fascination with large constructions. I was also drawn to the challenge. When I started my studies, I began to appreciate the other engineering sectors and plant aspects, which led me to choose to work in a factory.

What I love about my job

I get to resolve problems and develop and improve systems – all while working as part of a team. I appreciate that my career has led me to work in many different environments and roles.

Outside of work, I…

I like doing manual jobs and also typically ‘feminine’ jobs in which, in analogy with engineering, I find design, problem solving, the search for precision and gratification in completing the work.

To women and girls considering engineering…

Some women might hesitate to pursue a career in this area because this is still a male-dominated industry. But I believe that key skills for being an engineer, such as planning, design, problem solving, managing people and finances, are well suited to the way of being, thinking and acting of women!

Alison Elliott – Maintenance Manager at ALVANCE British Aluminium, Scotland

“Engineering is a creative field. We need to break the stereotype”

ALVANCE British Aluminium is the only operating smelter in the UK, mainly because we produce our own power. I was attracted to this role because it gives me the opportunity to work in a now unique industry in the UK which is also sustainable.

What I love about my job

My engineering career has given me experience in a huge variety of industries including in marine, spirits, and now aluminium. Starting engineering slightly later in my career also gave me the ability to utilise a lot of transferable skills such as leadership and management skills, critical thinking, innovation and communication skills.

Outside of work, I…

I also like to identify and apply problem solving to every aspect of my life.

To women and girls considering engineering…

Engineering is often perceived as a difficult, complicated and a dirty profession with STEM positions predominantly filled by men. But I have always found this surprising because statistically girls outperform boys in the majority of STEM subjects.

There is a lack of awareness and misconceptions about what type of career you can have. Engineering is a hugely diverse area and everything in our world is linked to engineering in some form – just think of the process of everyday tasks.

It is a very creative field and we need to work hard in breaking the stereotype that engineering jobs are just for men.

Elisabetta Fattorini – Process Engineer at LIBERTY Magona, Italy

“Companies that recognise the potential of their female engineers will be ahead of the competition”

I was drawn to engineering because I have always had a passion for scientific subjects rather than humanities and I’m curious about everything around me. There are many professional opportunities in this field and greater chances of finding a safer job.

What I love about my job

My job is almost never solitary and it gives me the opportunity to collaborate with others and acquire more skills and abilities.

Outside of work I…

When I leave work I dedicate myself fully to my family and I detach from everything else.

To women and girls considering engineering…

Although the work of engineers in our sector is often seen as ‘only suitable for men’, women must not be discouraged. They must not lose the enthusiasm to pursue their goals. Women can offer so much and companies that share this thought are certainly one step ahead of the others.

Ljubica Trendafilova – Project Engineer at LIBERTY Skopje, North Macedonia

“There are so many opportunities for professional growth and my team members are supportive”

My career journey was driven by my enthusiasm to explore different fields of engineering, learn new technologies and production processes, improve scheduling, time management and leadership skills.

What I love about my job

I love the challenging work environment. There is no shortage of solutions to be discovered and no single answer to any given task. It’s the perfect environment for logical and creative thinking.

The opportunity to learn each day from a team of experienced engineers is important for me. As well as creating a positive work environment, it has a great effect on productivity and efficiency.

To women and girls considering engineering…

I really appreciate that working in this company allows me to grow professionally and explore my many interests in project management, mechanical, electrical engineering. There should be no hesitation in accepting a job in the steel industry. In my experience, female engineers are accepted with great eagerness and have huge support from team members.

Kirsty Jenkinson-Ding from LIBERTY Speciality Steels Rotherham, England

Started as an apprentice in 2012 and graduated to a Machine Technician in 2016.

“Don’t let stereotypes put you off. Break the mould and go for it.”

I spent most of my childhood out and about with my dad who is a maintenance fitter, a keen model engineer and a historical vehicle restorer. I became interested in metalworking in secondary school and progressed to making parts for my dad’s vehicle on his machinery in the home workshop.

I am the third generation in my family to go into engineering. My grandfather started at the steel and engineering company Edgar Allen in Sheffield, my father had a long career working for British Steel from the 1970s and my brother Chris works for Rolls Royce.

What I love about my job

Every day is different. Whether I’m working with different materials, working to a sample or to a drawing, or setting up the machines to ensure that the operations are running smoothly, my job is constantly challenging me to learn.

Outside of work I…

I have manufactured countless components to help restore vintage vehicles, including tractors, Land Rovers and a vintage Scammel lorry used in the Rotherham SPEAR project.

I am also a member of the local model engineering railway at Rose Hill Park, that runs on a 9 1/4-gauge rail.

To women and girls considering engineering…

Keep pushing yourself, asking questions, and learning everything you can. Don’t let stereotypes put you off. Break the mould and go for it. Listen to the experience that has passed through before you. There’s a lot to gain from the personnel in the departments.

Thanks Ljubica, Elisabetta, Francesca, Alison and Kirsty for sharing your stories. Keep following your ambitions!

It’s role models like you who’ll inspire the next generation of young women and girls in our industry.

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