It is a skilled job, and not one usually associated with women.
But Sally Staff, a welder at Pearlgreen Engineering, is doing all she can to challenge perceptions of the engineering industry. The 39-year-old is campaigning for more women to pursue a career in engineering to help bridge the nation’s skills gap.
Part of Ms Staff’s aim is to get more female students interested in engineering at a younger age by inspiring them through her own story.
“It’s important to change the mind sets of women that engineering is a man’s job,” she said.
“This job is for anyone who loves to make things, has an interest in this kind of work and has a great sense of pride in what they do. I’m delighted to be in a job that I take immense satisfaction in doing, especially when I drive past projects and buildings I have made things for.”
Ms Staff decided to change her career and become a welder four years ago. Now, she is sharing her knowledge with school students after Pearlgreen’s parent company – Strata Holdings – forged links with Hessle High School to give students an opportunity to experience engineering first hand.
Ms Staff, who works from the Hawthorn Avenue base in west Hull, said: “There is such a huge demand for skilled workers in the industry, however, there is a shortage of skills in the UK.
“I’m a firm believer in educating young people about the benefits of working in this sector, which is why I am encouraging students who enjoy making things to pursue a career in engineering and look at the number of apprenticeships available to them.”
Only 6 per cent of the UK’s engineering workforce is female.
She said: “If there is one key piece of advice I would give to students who are interested in creating things and are interested in engineering it’s to start studying the right subjects to get them into the job and not to wait.”