Samantha Cunningham, Keadby Wind Farm’s site supervisor, has been interested in renewable technology and engineering since a high school geography class challenged her to seriously think about the pros and cons of wind energy. Now, a decade on, she wants more women to follow in her footsteps and take up a career in engineering.
“What would I say to any aspiring young female engineers? Go for it! Only around 6% of engineers are female and although I think renewable technology is important you wouldn’t believe the variety of roles and opportunities available in engineering. You really can do any job you wish.”
With the original, inspirational challenge from geography class in mind Samantha embarked on her career in renewable engineering. She attended Edinburgh University and completed a degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering with a focus on power generation. Following a series of jobs within the renewable industry Samantha was appointed site supervisor of England’s largest wind farm in April last year.
“After university I worked in CHP, offshore wind, biomass, gas and onshore wind. I’m now working on England’s largest onshore wind farm but previously I have worked all over the UK and even spent some time in Sweden, which I think proves my point that you can do anything you like.
“Now I’m working towards chartership status within the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) so my next goal is to achieve that and support other engineers in their application process. After that I hope to remain within the wind business and develop through my role into the management team.
Being an example to aspiring female engineers is obviously important but the people she works with and learning about wind farms every day is what Samantha really enjoys about her job. The views at the top of a wind tower aren’t too bad either.
“My favourite part of the job is spending time within the turbines learning about them every day. I also love my team at Keadby, they’re like a second family to me. On top of that everyone within SSE in general has been so welcoming. The support I receive is unbelievable, I’ve not encountered anyone who wasn’t willing to help out. My “office” is on top of a wind turbine – 80m above ground level – you can’t beat a view like that!”
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