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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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sarah-thorne-464

#BalanceforBetter - International Women's Day 2019

As we mark International Women’s Day, Sarah Thorne − a fabric engineer with ISS Technical Services − discusses her experience as an engineering specialist in a male-dominated industry and why it’s vital we strive for a better balance
In terms of how I became an engineer − my dad is a handyman and decorator and taught me the basics from a young age. My partner is also an electrician and a multi-skilled engineer, so it’s something I’m around all the time.

Before becoming an engineer, I actually worked in leisure. I learnt how to become a pool plant technician and would also carry out handyman jobs around the leisure centre I worked at, like fixing door handles. I really enjoyed it so decided to change my career. I then spent two years with a competitor before joining Technical Services in July 2017. 

What I love is getting out and about and travelling across my patch (London, Essex and Kent). I never know which job I’ll be allocated next and which customer I will meet. I’m constantly learning too which I enjoy – from other colleagues with different specialisms and also while I’m on the job, having to use my own initiative.   

It’s always a challenge when you can’t complete a job first time round and fix a problem for the client straight away – this could be because the job also needs an engineer with a different specialism (like an electrician or plumber) or you need a particular piece of equipment that you don’t have to hand. 

As an engineer, I have encountered sexism on the rare occasion in my career but on the whole most people are nicely surprised when they find out my job. I always enjoy arriving at a new job and being met with surprise when the client is clearly expecting a man! 

I feel it’s important to promote an inclusive workplace to show that everyone is equal and has the chance to be what they want to. There are still very few female engineers and there’s no reason why this needs to be the case. We can all get the same technical qualifications and pay – engineering isn’t just a ‘male’ job, it’s a job for everyone. 

This International Women’s Day, share your views and ideas on why balance is important in the workplace and how we can ensure engineering is an industry for all – #BalanceforBetter

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