Jaqueline Stewart is an apprentice Smart Energy Expert training at the Scottish Gas Academy in Hamilton.
Originally from Aberdeen, the 23-year-old recently swapped university life for a career in engineering. She said: “I was always interested in engineering because my dad worked in engineering for 30 years.
“After my Highers, I applied to study a degree in law at university and felt slightly pressured into accepting the place as it seemed like the natural next step after school.
“Two years into my degree, I decided the academic route wasn’t right for me, so I decided to look at ways of getting into engineering.”
Ms Stewart saw the job description for the Smart Energy Expert on the Scottish Gas website and had been hoping for an opportunity to come up for some time. When she saw the Aberdeen vacancy, she knew she had to go for it.
“I’m only a couple of months in to my training now, but it’s the first time since I left school that I haven’t felt lost about my future,” she said.
“I’m already amazed by how many different skills I’ve learnt, from installing smart meters to talking with customers about smart energy monitors to manage their energy at home.
“Engineering is so dynamic and working with smart meter technology, it’s a sector that’s always changing. I’m so excited about my future now.”
Ms Stewart was initially apprehensive about working in a traditionally male-dominated field. She added: “I was a bit concerned when I started training, but I soon learnt that Scottish Gas supports every apprentice through the programme.
“If anything, being a woman makes me even more determined to prove that I’m just as good as the guys I’m training with. I want to work hard and succeed in my career for myself but also to inspire other women and young girls leaving school to consider this career path.”