Women with professional experience in engineering make up more than half of the lecturers in the drilling operations programme at the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC). In addition, two of NESC’s welding instructors are women.
Just a couple of many milestones reported by the NESC in a release issued in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022. The NESC says it has been doing its part to #breakthebias in the male-dominated energy and industrial sectors.
“Over the last several years, the NESC has made concerted efforts to attract and train young women in technical skills for the energy and industrial sectors. Our female graduates have gone on to start their own businesses servicing the energy and industrial sectors or have gained employment within these sectors,” the NESC reports.
Ta-lisa Wharwood, certified welder and the NESC’s 2018 valedictorian, had a golden opportunity to work on the new methanol plant in La Brea.
“I’m really proud to be able to say that I worked on the new methanol plant in La Brea. That was one of the first projects I worked on after graduating,” Ta-lisa Wharwood said.
She added: “On this particular project, I was the only female welder onsite but there have been a couple projects where there were other more experienced women on site. I appreciated the opportunity to work with them and I learnt a lot.”
Asked if she encountered any gender-based discrimination at work, Ta-lisa shared: “Sometimes, my male colleagues can be a little apprehensive when they see me on the first day. They usually warm up to me when they see the quality of my work. But I’ve also definitely had to verbally stand up for myself at times too. I want to help break the bias for other young women coming into the field.”
Young women make up 17% of the NESC’s student population, a significant jump from years past. Upon completion of their diplomas in programmes like welding, electrical, automotive maintenance and IT services, these women will join their sisters in ‘breaking the bias’ in their fields.
Kern Dass, President of the NESC, says as an equal opportunity employer, the organisation is building a workplace where women thrive in their careers.
“The NESC is an advocate of equal opportunity for all. We are committed to ‘breaking the bias’ and we’re extremely proud of our achievements so far,” he said.
He added: “Women have unique, invaluable contributions to make to the energy and industrial sectors. As an organization, the NESC will continue to do our part to support women as they pursue their career aspirations in industry.”