An 18-year old former drama student from Liverpool, who is now just one of three female apprentices at Linde Material Handling is determined to trailblaze the way for other women to consider a career in engineering.
Self-confessed tomboy Lucy Pover joined the team of 88 apprentices at Linde in September last year and since then has been working hard to prove to her male counterparts that women can be just as good, if not better than men at fixing forklift trucks.
The 18-year old former drama student said, “Although I’m very much a tom boy who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty and enjoying the practical hands-on approach to learning, I’m also a girlie girl at heart which can sometimes give people the perception that I don’t fit into this very male dominated field.
“When I first started my apprenticeship, I felt like I had to prove myself to my mentor, colleagues and teachers. As a result, I completely pushed myself out of my comfort zone and pulled out all the stops to demonstrate my capabilities alongside the boys. I feel like this helped me to earn the respect of everyone on my course. Although, in reality I was never made to feel like I was out of place. I was welcomed with open arms and have been supported and reassured at every step along the way.
“I’m extremely passionate about what I do and absolutely love learning about how all the different trucks operate. There are so many different varieties of truck from the smaller order pickers and reach trucks to the heavy counterbalance trucks as well as all the exciting technologies coming through to address safety, ergonomics and efficiency that our skillsets are constantly evolving, and no day is ever the same.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning and being able to apply my skills in a practical way on a day to day basis. Ironically, I wasn’t very good at physics at school and I spent a lot of my time pursuing my interests in drama and sport but now it all makes complete sense.
“Both my father and grandfather work as tradesmen so I’ve grown up surrounded by people who work with their hands to create things. I used to love helping them out during the school holidays so it’s all I really know.
“Most of my friends are beauticians and don’t understand why I enjoy working in engineering so much but for me I find it fascinating. I relish finding out how things work then diagnosing the problem when it arises and investigating how to solve it.
“I genuinely want to highlight to other women that engineering is a great field to work in and the STEM sector is really calling out for more females. It’s such a rewarding and satisfying job and the people I work with are just brilliant.”
Shelley Brown, training and apprenticeship manager at Linde Material Handling, said: “Women like Lucy are fantastic advocates for women in STEM. At a glance she is certainly not your stereotypical engineer, but she puts her heart and soul into her work and has fitted in well with the whole team at Linde Stirling.
“As I understand only about 25% of STEM workers are female as opposed to 72% of men and although we have definitely seen a steady rise in women applying to do our apprenticeship over the past few years, the numbers are still very low and we would welcome and encourage more to give it a go.
Linde currently has 88 apprentices across the four-year programme having taken on 146 apprentices to date but only a handful of them are female.
The course allows young people to gain valuable industry experience which enables them to develop their professional and personal skills while also gaining a formal qualification.
Each year, apprentices spend five weeks at the Fork Truck Training Centre in Swindon where Linde donated five Linde trucks to make sure all apprentices build a comprehensive knowledge of its products.
Linde’s industry leading apprenticeship programme teaches a broad range of skills and theory needed to service and repair a large range of forklift trucks.
Apprentices also have the opportunity to expand into other areas of the business using their transferable skills gained within the apprenticeship scheme.