Leap of faith15 June 2015
UK company Konecranes has reaffirmed its support for recruiting female engineers, and has recently appointed its first female Field Service Technician. Natasha Cairns explains why she thinks engineering is a rewarding industry to be in, and encourages more women to follow her lead and take the leap of faith.
Konecranes UK has written a new chapter in its history books having appointed its first female Field Service Technician. Joining the ranks of the company's 280-strong and growing nationwide team, Natasha Cairns is working at Konecranes' North East Service District in Gateshead.
Having already successfully completed Konecranes' Techmasters 1 induction course at the company's UK training headquarters in Castle Donington, 24-year old Natasha is in the process of undertaking further intensive hands-on product training prior to fulfilling her role in the field as a fully competent Service Technician.
A former apprentice operating in the field of electrical maintenance within the fabrication and welding sector, Natasha is not only qualified to BTech 2 and 3 in electronics at South West Durham Training, she also has a HNC and HND in Mechatronics to her name from Teeside University.
Commenting on Natasha's appointment, Konecranes' Director of Europe West, Pat Campbell, said: "We are obviously delighted to have Natasha onboard in the North East and we are extremely confident that she will prove to be a capable member of the 34-strong team of Field Service Technicians that look after a diverse range of customers in what is a strategically important part of the country.
"Whilst Natasha's appointment marks a milestone in the history of Konecranes here in the UK, it reaffirms the company's commitment to recruiting only the highest calibre engineers. Indeed as our product and service offering continues to develop, so too must the human resource that is dedicated to support it. Our team of Field Service Technicians is therefore only set to go from strength-to-strength, as we already have plans to bring onboard more new members in 2015.
"As a leading employer in our field, we are keen to promote and support the recruitment of female engineers, whether qualified, or those possibly looking to embark on our established apprenticeship programme," he added.
An enthusiastic Natasha states: "From a young age I always had a passion for electronics, so being able to work in this field for such a well known and globally recognised name as Konecranes is like a dream come true. The training that has been extended to me so far has been first class and I intend to work hard to develop my career within what is acknowledged as a very progressive and dynamic organisation. I am really excited about putting things into practice on a day-to day basis."
In her role as Field Service Technician, Natasha will be working in a reactive capacity in relation to breakdowns and repairs, and will also help deliver planned service and maintenance programmes covering a diverse range of cranes and hoists.
Lifting equipment manufacturer Konecranes says it has the capability to offer a diverse range of equipment, service and maintenance solutions to meet the demands of the hydropower sector. Indeed the company continues to enjoy an association with many leading industry players, not just in the UK but globally.
Broadly speaking, Konecranes' hydropower-related equipment product offering takes in overhead cranes, hoists and workstation lifting products. Within the former category are specialised turbine hall cranes that incorporate advanced safety features. More mainstream products are chain and wire rope hoist and industrial cranes, process and open winch cranes.
Konecranes' manufactured hoists take in a number of products that cover a diverse range of applications, including those associated with the hydropower sector. They include electric and manual hoists, as well as hoists for hazardous environments. All hoists meet the necessary international safety and operational standards.
Lifting capacities of Konecranes' hoists range between 60 kg to 80 tons. And whether lifting or pulling needs are irregular or continuous, all hoists lift smoothly and offer optimum control during operation. In fact whilst all Konecranes' hoists are extremely versatile and reliable, the company's CXT hoists are now reputed to be the most sought after electric wire rope hoists in the world.
Completing Konecranes' equipment product range are workstation lifting solutions that take in industrial load manipulators, jib and workstation cranes, plus portable gantry cranes.
Q&A with Natasha Cairns
What does it feel like being the first female technician?
It is an absolute honour to be able to lay claim to being the first female to hold the position of Field Service Technician with such a well-known company as Konecranes. For me it really is like a dream come true, whilst also being a bit of history in the making for Konecranes in the UK themselves. I aim to ensure that I do the position justice and repay the faith that the company has invested in me. I intend to work hard to develop my career within what is acknowledged as a progressive and dynamic organisation. Indeed I'm already enjoying the responsibilities that have been extended to me. The support I have received from the whole team in Gateshead, not to mention the customers that I've visited so far, has been nothing short of magnificent.
Do you feel that you will become a role model for others to follow?
I would certainly like to think so. From an early age I always wanted to carve a career in electronic engineering, and through hard work and endeavour it appears to have paid off. It really does go to show what an individual can achieve if they put their mind to it. Engineering is a very rewarding industry to be in and I am sure we will see more and more women take the leap of faith in the future, particularly when it comes to working for organisations who adopt a truly open mind policy when it comes to recruitment. It is a career I would recommend to any woman, and in particular to girls currently in school that might not have even thought of a career path such as this.
What advice can you give other women about working in such a male dominated industry?
I think it is important to dispel any fears that women may have of working predominantly with male colleagues. As I've already said, the support that I've had from my fellow Service Technicians either during training or whilst out in the field has been first class. Everyone has always been willing to offer any help and advice that they can. After all, we are all part of the same team and providing a top class and efficient service to customers is the only thing that counts. It's about embracing opportunities and not shying away from them. In summation, my advice would be to simply go for it!
I'd like to thank Konecranes for showing their faith in my abilities, and in particular Service District Manager, Mike McGarry, who interviewed me and finally offered me the position. It is extremely gratifying to be part of the largest team of Service Technicians of its kind within the UK and to be working across such a diverse and interesting range of industry sectors.