Leaving school with no formal qualifications gave Faye Banks very limited career choices.
After a stint in an unskilled job at a local meat plant she realised that she didn’t want to spend the rest of her working life in a dull and repetitive job - she decided to give college another go. Here she met an inspiring Teacher, and this time round completed her studies, achieving 10 grade A GCSEs.
Getting her GCSEs spurred Faye on with her education and she went on to secure an apprenticeship in electrical engineering. Working full-time meant going to a traditional university to get a degree simply wasn’t an option. Instead she took the Open University route which allowed her to continue working whilst pursuing her dream of getting a degree.
"For me the Open University has been life-changing. It enabled me to achieve my dream of becoming an Engineering Consultant and without it I would never have had the opportunity to develop into my current role at National Grid." says Faye.
Faye chose to pursue a career in engineering because she was aware of the lack of female engineers in the UK and could see the opportunities available.
“Through working in the sector I could see that there were numerous career opportunities for those with the right skills and qualifications.”
Undeterred by the fact that engineering is considered to be a male-dominated industry she sees the experience she has gained over her working career and her studies as underpinning her success.
“I really enjoy working in a male dominated environment – I get respect for the qualifications and experiences I have gained from working in industry.”
She’s also happy to challenge the idea that working as an engineer means wearing overalls all day and being covered in oil.
“There is a misconception that engineering is a dirty job but this view is so far away from the truth. I did get my hands dirty when I was an apprentice but I spend most of my time nowadays involved in strategic work.”
Electricity is the lifeblood of our modern society. It lights our homes, offices and hospitals, it powers trains and many newer cars, it heats our homes, cooks food and without it your computer or smart phone would be completely useless. Without electricity life as we know it would rapidly grind to a halt. The work that Faye and her colleagues at National Grid undertake ensures that the vast network of electricity distribution works efficiently and smoothly so that we can just switch it on without a thought. So next time you charge your phone just say a quiet “thank you” to Faye and the team.
To find out more about careers at National Grid just follow the link MORE
videos courtesy of: Born to Engineer; produced by Duck Rabbit Media and The Pearson Group