Stacey Collins, digital marketing executive for Alpha, sat down with Samantha Older, one of Alpha’s regional service technicians, ahead of this year's International Women’s Day. Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out equality, International Women’s Day campaigns to drive towards a gender equal world. The theme for this year is #EmbraceEquity, and the campaign centres around getting the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough. Commenting on her route into a career within the heating and engineering industry, Samantha says:
“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. And that is when I took the step to become a hybrid technician which involved working on Renewable technology such as Air source heat pumps, Ground source heat pumps, Mechanical ventilation, Hiu and Nibe units. Whilst 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 am delighted to work for one of the leading brands in the heating industry, I’d always heard of Alpha’s reputation as a reputable brand who is always on the pulse of product innovation and was excited by the new challenge. Only 3 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. Commenting on the gender imbalance, Samantha adds:
“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. Whilst 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.”
Hoping to encourage more women, especially younger ones, into the industry, Samantha continues: “Working in the heating industry is not only well paid, but if you work hard there is fantastic career progression as well. As women, we’re able to bring a different perspective, we approach problems from a different angle and have an eye for attention to detail. I am proud to say that Alpha already has a lot of women working within the business, from sales to logistics to engineering. It’s a great place to work as women are treated equally and supported by the senior management team.
Sharing her advice to women wanting to get into the heating industry, Samantha 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 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 champions women from all walks of life and focuses on embracing equality and recognises individual circumstances. At Alpha, we pride ourselves on supporting women in whatever job role they wish to pursue. We feel optimistic that Samantha’s story will inspire others to think about a career in our industry.