I work for Otis, the world’s largest lift and escalator company. We’ve been around globally for 165 years and in the UK for 125 years. We specialise in installations, equipment maintenance, and modernisation.
I’m part of the modernisation department, which has 104 staff and improves lifts to the latest standards. We’re working at the Durys Inn in Liverpool right now, constructing two lifts over nine floors in a luxury student accommodation project.
For the industry to change we need more women to apply and this is where it’s important to have role models within Otis and in construction overall.
I did a one-year electrical engineering apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Then I did a range of jobs before joining Otis. I’m now going through a three-year apprenticeship programme working in an engineering environment to obtain accreditation of an NVQ Level 3 diploma in lift maintenance/engineering and a BTEC Level 3 diploma. The other qualifications I will get are three level 2 PEOs in wiring and testing.
I like lift engineering because there is such a vast amount of skills and new information to be learnt every single day. It’s very different from every other job I’ve had. No two days are the same.
I like lift engineering because there is such a vast amount of skills and new information to be learnt every single day. It’s very different from every other job I’ve had. No two days are the same: I never know what's going to happen next. Sometimes things can be slow depending which part of the job you are on and other days can go so fast it's over in the blink of an eye!
My hours are typically from 7am-4pm. In order to complete the lift installation, you have to carry out a range of tasks. I work closely with my Otis colleagues to make sure work is done safely and on time.
There are a lot of different things involved – electrical work on the doors operator and the switch buttons, manual handling items to the top floor, such as lifting equipment and tools, building the lift car itself in the shaft. When you’re in that small space, you have to make sure all the work is done in a neat and tidy fashion, for example, all the wiring inside of the shaft to ensure that nothing catches and it's very presentable for the customer.
This is definitely a worthwhile career and very promising for the money and skills that you learn in the long run. There's a lot of training to make sure you have the skills to work safely on a construction site such as, a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card, manual handling training and specialist training, e.g. on the use of a harness and correct Personal Protective Equipment.
I’m the only woman on this construction site on this specific project. On my site, the men are courteous and ask me if I need help with things. For the industry to change we need more women to apply and this is where it’s important to have role models within Otis, and in construction overall. Women can do the job just as well – it’s not all heavy lifting, and you work as a team to make sure everything gets done; there is plenty of equipment these days to make the jobs manageable.