Female engineers shaping the world

It's International Women in Engineering Day, with the theme of Shape the World, and renewables engineer Samantha Cunningham is passionate about tempting more women into the sector.

The energy and engineering industries have for a long time had a lack of diversity and SSE is addressing the balance, taking action for the long-term.

Samantha is the offshore substation commissioning lead for what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank and she’s encouraging more women to consider a career in energy and engineering and offering some insight into her role.

She said: “If you are considering it, do it. The variety of roles I’ve had exposure to within the engineering discipline has been amazing. Curiosity is an absolute must when starting off a career in engineering. Engineers have this instinctual passion for creating something new and different and these are qualities which will allow you to explore the industry and develop into your career.

“Look for internships or summer placements or opportunities to develop your knowledge and skills. If the SSE Engineering Programme was around when I was learning, I would definitely have been interested.”

Since graduating from Edinburgh University, where she studied electronic and electrical engineering, Samantha has worked on Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, Keadby Onshore Wind Farm and is now working on the mammoth Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm. Also at Clyde wind farm

Talking through a typical day pre-coronavirus Samantha said: “I could be offshore assisting in maintenance of high voltage apparatus, reviewing design documentation for a new project, catching up with team members, attending progress meetings and carrying out site visits across the UK and Scandinavia and so on. So much variety is great. Since the lockdown, work has changed considerably, however we have found new ways to work.

“Working from home has become the ‘new norm’ and now includes weekly team themed video chats. We have moved from a face-to-face interaction to a digital process and it’s working really well.

“The Dogger Bank project is set to be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm under development and when completed will be able to provide more than 4.5 million UK homes with renewable electricity. Climate change is a huge issue that currently faces the world and development of renewable technologies is one way that this can be reduced and being part of it is fantastic.

“Prior to joining Dogger Bank I worked at Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm throughout the construction and early operations and I feel really proud to have been a huge part of bringing Scotland’s current largest wind farm to life. I can’t wait to do the same at Dogger Bank.”

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