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Jean with one of our engineers

As JBC celebrate its 40th anniversary, we asked Jean Draper, one of our female Managers, “What it’s like to be a woman in Engineering Management?

Jean Draper is the wonder woman of JBC. In-between juggling jobs, prioritising customer’s needs, ordering supplies, accounting, customer service and scheduling in site visits, Jean manages a team of 8 engineers around the area of Humberside.

Jean joined the company in 2000 as a Regional Co-ordinator, learning all aspects of the Industrial Boiler and Burner Market and the service and maintenance requirements of its customers.

Jean hit the ground running, learning everything about this sector of the market and was rewarded in 2015 with a well-deserved promotion to the position of Regional Manager.

However, only 11% of the UK engineering workforce is female. This is a positive change from only 9% in 2015, but the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.

I asked Jean a few questions about her role and how she sees the future of engineering for women.

What are the difficulties you face on a daily basis?

‘As I am not technically trained as an engineer some of the technical aspects of the job can be challenging, but I am improving my knowledge all the time with the help of Engineers, other Managers and the Company Director who are always on hand for help and advice.”

Do you face additional challenges as a woman in Engineering?

I haven’t found any additional challenges as all the Site Engineers and Managers I have met have been very accepting of my position and have spoken to me on the same level as they would any Manager. If I did come across any particular challenge I would deal with it in a calm and professional manner.

What is your biggest success story?

I have managed quite a few projects since I took over as Manager but I take pride in all the work we undertake and am pleased when a Job is completed successfully and in a timely manner. This is not just down to me but to all the engineers/boiler fitters on site who work extremely hard to get the job done to the standard the customer and JBC expect.

How do you see the future for more women in engineering?

I feel that there are many more opportunities for women in engineering now and as the younger female generation work through the ranks from apprentices upwards we will see many more women in engineering roles.

MD, Geoff Sutcliffe, said of Jean “From day one when Jean accepted the role of Regional Manager, I had no worries or doubts about her succeeding in what is perceived to be a predominantly male oriented industry. She is delivering in what I would consider a very challenging and demanding role”.

With a major shortfall of engineering skills in the UK at the moment, Apprenticeships and quality engineering courses are leading the way, with more opportunities for women than ever before! After all, we could all do with a few more ‘Jeans’!