‘We can all embrace equity and challenge gender stereotypes’
At just 21 years old, Samantha Older, regional service technician for Alpha, is helping to champion women in the heating industry. On International Women’s Day (8 March), we take a look at how she’s already proven herself in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
“I started out as a gas engineer apprentice. It was a fantastic job with fabulous people who taught me essential skills that have helped me throughout life. However, like most, I was itching to do more.
“That is when I took the step to become a hybrid technician, which involved working on renewable technology such as air and ground source heat pumps, mechanical ventilation, Hiu and Nibe units. While working in this role, I also trained my own apprentice, which was extremely rewarding.
“For the years following, I continued to develop my skills and experience within my specialism and joined Alpha in December 2022 as a regional service technician.
“[I’m] only three months in but I’ve already developed on my abilities and expertise within my role, excelled in problem solving, adapted to changing working environments and built on my confidence and capabilities to work under pressure.”
Samantha’s role can come with a host of challenges, including keeping pace with the latest legislation and innovations, not to mention often having to work in tight, awkward spaces. However, one of the biggest challenges Samantha has had to face is proving her worth within a male-dominated industry. She says: “For years we have endured a significant imbalance of men to women within our industry. We can all truly embrace equity and challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination and seek out inclusion.
“While it’s been challenging to prove myself, I am proud to work as an Alpha engineer and aim to inspire others who might be thinking about a career in the heating and engineering industry. Even though I do still see homeowners a little surprised to see a female show up at their door, I have seen a shift in mindset and have confidence that the younger generation will start to consider a career in this amazing industry.”
She adds: “The best advice I’d give to young people is to be brave. Nothing is ever impossible if you have your heart in the right place and set your mind to it. It can be difficult when starting out in a male-dominated sector – you need to have thick skin. But I have received nothing but support from my peers and, overall, my experience has been extremely positive and I hope that my story can inspire others. It’s a fantastic industry to work for and there is never a dull moment; every day brings different challenges and experiences.”
International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements and increases visibility, while calling out inequality, driving towards a gender-equal world. The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity and the campaign is focusing on getting the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough.
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