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Insights and Stories

Sembcorp Energy UK Celebrates International Women's Day

March 07, 2022

At Sembcorp Energy UK (SEUK), we’re celebrating the many contributions women make to the energy sector on this International Women’s Day.

We remain steadfast in our mission to lead sustainable solutions and to help propel the global energy transition. To deliver on these bold endeavours, we recognise the need to embrace diversity to be able to make a true impact on our environment and communities.

To help motivate the change and #BreaktheBias, here, some of our inspiring women at Sembcorp Energy UK share their advice and experiences of working in energy:

“Don’t let other people define you or what you want to become,” said Cathy McClay, Director of Trading and Optimisation.

“You can do or be anything you want and should unreservedly pursue your interests and passions in life. My inherent curiosity and fascination with how things work have led to an enthralling career at the heart of decarbonisation. Engineers play a vital role in the energy transition and I feel particularly excited for those currently studying engineering, as there are so many opportunities to make a real difference.”

“Engineering is incredibly rewarding with so much opportunity for women to excel within their chosen field,” said Rebecca Baines, Field Service Engineer. “One piece of advice to women interested in engineering is to not be intimidated, be authentic to yourself, ask questions, make mistakes and be curious, have the confidence and take the leap.

Do it for yourself but also the others that will follow behind you.”

Last year, Ella Snaith became SEUK’s first plant-specific female apprentice at Wilton International’s water treatment plant. You can read more about her story here. Ella has now joined a shift operating team after successfully completing her validation. “I feel really proud,” said Ella. She said that environments that have been historically male-dominated are changing.

“Go for it. Don’t hesitate,” said Ella.

“I wanted to do something a bit different, something that excites me - and this excites me. Because it’s never a boring day. Every day that you come in is a challenge. You also get a sense of pride after you’ve worked out solutions.”

“Engineering is a huge passion of mine, and I’m lucky to work as part of a team that encourages and pushes for my development within the sector,” said Philippa Drurey, Electrical Engineer. “I’d encourage any woman to consider a career in STEM; it’s incredibly rewarding and there’s a wealth of opportunity out there for us. Our experiences, our talents and our voices drive solutions and innovation throughout industry.

“We need to see more women in positions of influence within the energy sector, that can be seen as role models and mentors; and this all begins with us entering the engineering workforce.”

Bailey Mercer, Lead Maintenance Technician, said: “If the way forward isn’t clear for you, you have to forge your own way. It can be difficult for young women to decide whether they would be comfortable working in a male-dominated environment, but I have never regretted my career choice. One of my favourite things about the job is the team of people that I work with. I feel extremely lucky to have met all of the characters that I have.

“If you are considering a career in this industry, I highly recommend it.”

Joanne Potter, Head of Human Resources, said SEUK aims for an energy sector that is free of gender bias and fosters equality. “At Sembcorp Energy UK, we value the range of diverse expertise, talents and passion women bring to this industry,” said Joanne. “If we want to truly make an impact towards a greener future, we need to cultivate spaces of true equity and inclusion in our workforce. Together, we are building a more sustainable world.”

“It is great to be working in such a dynamic and interesting industry which is at the forefront of the UK’s transition to net zero,” said Ruth Barnard, Legal Counsel.

“Helping Sembcorp Energy UK play a leading role in supporting the Government’s sustainable polices and achieving decarbonisation targets is exciting from both a professional and personal perspective.”

Natalie Lowery, Strategy Manager, encourages women who are looking to join the energy sector to reach out to others and find mentors to understand how their skills can help. “Innovation requires diversity and reaching net zero is the largest innovation challenge that human beings have ever faced,” said Natalie.

“Everyone has to have a seat at the table.”

Grace March, Regulatory Affairs Manager, said: “I have had a great experience being a woman in energy – the constantly changing, rigorous world of energy regulation suits me perfectly. Even when I was younger or the only woman in the room, I always had confidence that my opinions and knowledge were respected.”

“There are many women in the industry whom I consider role models, and I am aware that I am following in their footsteps.”

Georgina Hatch, Junior Energy Trader, said it’s a good feeling to know she may be inspiring other women who want to work in energy. “I’m proud to work in an industry supporting the energy transition to net zero, and I love sharing knowledge about renewable energy and energy storage - technologies that are key to decarbonisation.”

“Women in this industry should feel empowered to drive change and support each other in this field.”

The International Women’s Day 2022 theme is #BreaktheBias, encouraging a gender-equal world, where difference is valued and celebrated. SEUK knows innovation is driven by different ideas, perspectives and talents and intends to build on coming together to create a more sustainable future.

Above (L-R): Yasmin Clennan, Business Support Apprentice, Natasha Wilkinson, HR Co-ordinator, Laura McLaughlin, Learning Co-ordinator stand in the #BreakTheBias pose at Sembcorp Energy UK’s headquarters at Wilton International.