Allianz Engineering, part of Allianz Insurance Plc and the global Allianz Group, is one of the leading engineering insurance and inspection providers in the UK. We are always seeking dedicated and driven engineers to join us and within this recruitment we are also striving to increase the number of female engineers we employ by proactively engaging and making ourselves appealing to both men and women either working in, or interested in working in this industry.
We are working on a number of networking initiatives to raise the profile of Allianz Engineering and the career path available to both men and women, including talking to our current employees and sharing their journey within engineering and Allianz.
Lisa Kayode – Engineering Standards Technical Support
I am one of six children; I have three brothers and two sisters. From an early age I was always drawn to what my brothers were doing; as playing football and climbing trees seemed far more intriguing to me than playing with dolls.
At Primary School I always played football with the boys and I was chosen to be the Vice-Captain of the school football team. In my teenage years I was selected to play for Arsenal Girls Football team.
My father is an Electrician/Builder/Plumber and was always carrying out works around the house, and on many occasions I got involved. I used to love getting old broken down bikes, then repairing and respraying them, to then sell them on.
From the age of 14 at my all-girls school, there was a Careers Team that was promoting Women in Engineering and Scientific careers. This was the first encounter towards my career in Engineering, as this meeting led me to take Physics, Chemistry and CDT GCSEs. Then Physics and CDT A levels.
I decided I didn’t want to go to University, but wanted a job where I could work and study at the same time. Thankfully just the opportunity came up within the BBC, for a four year Electrical/Mechanical Apprenticeship. I obtained an ONC and a HNC in Electrical Building services. I continued to work at the BBC for a further four years after completing my apprenticeship.
Things changed the day I met my first female Engineer Surveyor, she was inspecting at the BBC, she was already in the industry and the way she spoke of her career was inspirational. I never knew such a position existed. She told me of her role and the flexibility; which was the key attraction for me. I started searching for that type of job; which I found at Allianz and have been here for the past 17 years. The flexibility of the job I consider to be priceless as I now have three children and never miss a school play or sports days.
I have worked for Allianz as an engineer surveyor, specialising in inspecting the electrical installations of buildings which can range from inspecting and testing the fixed wiring in every room of a hotel to inspecting a petrol station forecourt for safety, to a busy London Theatre where my inspections were from the stage pit to the roof, to ensure that the show can go on.
There was no such thing as a typical day’s work for me; I could be inspecting a London landmark one day, to wearing a hard hat, high visibility jacket and steel toe cap boots, the next; inspecting the fixed wiring of a quarry . I enjoyed getting into ‘every nook and cranny’ of the electrical installation I inspected, seeing areas that the general public rarely get access to, finding faults that could potentially save lives.
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with MS eight years ago. Last year, the disease caused severe disability, leaving me with no option, but to give up my much loved post as an Electrical Engineer Surveyor, seven months ago. Allianz has been extremely supportive and accommodated me. They have offered me a position as a Technical Support Engineer, working from home, for which I am truly grateful. This is thankfully less strenuous, but still utilises my technical ability.
What attracted you to engineering?
I believe it was my Dad, Mr Godwin Sharpe, who initially attracted me to engineering. I grew up in an environment where if anything went wrong in the house my dad could fix it. I wanted to know how to do this too and he would show me. Also another crucial factor was his acceptance of me working alongside him, from an early age. He was extremely proud of me, as many times he would make mention, that my brothers were not interested, but I was. This gave me the confidence to enter the ‘Man’s World’ as James Brown sung!
What do you think are the reasons as to why so many women study engineering; yet don’t go on to pursue a career in engineering?
Women study engineering and pass exams, but pursuing a career in engineering can be halted because traditionally it has been a male dominated industry and we are still bearing the repercussions of this today. To bring a clearer understanding, I believe these challenges can be likened to the nursing industry. According to the most recent NMC figures, only one in ten nurses on the register last year were male, a figure that has remained static for the past four years. Although there has been a rise in men entering the profession in the last few decades, it has been a small, slow one.
I have never known any different because I was used to being the only female engineer but understand that it can be a challenge entering a profession where you are a minority.
What can we do to attract more women into engineering?
To make engineering a much sought-after career, I would suggest we do more to promote the career benefits to females in schools and normalise the image of female engineers to young audiences and parents.
Even though the stereotypes of the industry are still present, women should look beyond that and see the real opportunities they could be missing out on.
What needs to be done now is to increase public awareness of what an engineer is and what an engineer does and to put a spotlight on all the interesting aspects of an engineer’s working day. Attracting more women into engineering, more people in fact, requires the stereotypes to be removed and the general public made aware of the truth behind the engineer.
Are you looking to take the next step with one of the leading engineering insurance and inspection providers in the UK? We are committed to an Inspection Service that is second to none and in return our engineers benefit from a range of award-winning training opportunities, competitive salary, bonus, company car and excellent flexible benefits. If you are interested in career opportunities with Allianz Engineering, please visit our career site Careers at Allianz to view more information and all current vacancies.