Janince Crawford, the first female apprentice at Govan shipbuilders in the 1970s announced on International Women’s day, the 8th March, that industry is changing so women are being more welcomed in to areas more stereotypically male.
Crawford is the regional director of Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects Division and is the leader of a team that is responsible for the railways across the south east of England. Janice’s team of engineers and managers is also working on the London Waterloo International project.
Crawford is trying to encourage more women to consider the railway industry as a career as opposed to other more traditionally associated “women’s jobs”, for example hair and beauty or childcare. Crawford advertises positions in Network rail as a well-paid and varied job with good prospects. Alongside this it has been announced that there are still available apprenticeships within the South East department of Network Rail.
It has also been suggested by Crawford that the skills learned through an apprenticeship can be transferred into other sectors later on if need be. Also the skills learned through working as a Network Rail are skills that would not be available in more traditionally female roles.
Today, only 16 per cent of the Network Rail workforce is female. That percentage is of the total 35,000 strong workforce of engineers and managers that work for Network Rail. The aim is that by 2020 Network rail will have increased the percentage of women in its workforce to reach 20%. This will still mean that women will be a minority in the sector, however it is a start towards getting more women into industrial roles.
Network Rail offer an advanced apprentice scheme that offers opportunities across a variety of locations in the South East of England including Ashford, Brighton, Crawley, Croydon, Gravesend, Orpington and Tonbridge.