BESA Scotland Awards 2022
6 July 2022

ECG FS Female Apprentice Scoops Prestigious 4th Year Apprentice of the Year Award

ECG Facilities Services are exceptionally proud of Katie King who has won the BESA Group Facilities Management Engineer 4th Year Apprentice of the Year Award.

With all the hard work and effort that Katie has put in over the past 4 years, this award is thoroughly deserved. Katie has an incredible work ethic and attitude and we hope this achievement will inspire more females to enter the FM industry. Katie will now head to the National Award event in London.

Again, a huge congratulations from everyone at ECG!

We recently caught up with Katie to find out how she got into the industry, how things are going for her and what she sees for her future:

Hi Katie. Thank you for taking the time to do this. Let’s start from the beginning.

Was engineering something you always wanted to do or were interested in?

I didn’t know I always wanted to do engineering, to be honest, but because it involved problem-solving and you are able to get out and about and you are not always stuck in one place, you are active in your job – I think that’s why I wanted to do it.

How did the Apprenticeship with ECG come about? Were you looking into it with other companies?

A representative from BESA came to my school and gave a presentation about the Apprenticeship in general. This made me think about it and I applied to BESA and went to sit an aptitude test (BEST). After I passed that, BESA asked me if I wanted to go for an interview with ECG. I had that interview and was offered the Apprenticeship.

How did you find the Apprenticeship as a whole and the ECG structure for Apprentices?

Generally quite good, obviously I’ve had the chance to get involved with Gas, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, etc. and was thinking about it the other day and I think the main benefit has been the ECG Compliance Team. I feel it is always good having them because whenever there is a problem or I need help with an assignment or a project, I can just contact them and they will help me.

As a whole, I think you need to be proactive. At the start, I was quite shy and didn’t really want to ask, but if you need help you just need to ask for it! All the help is there and if you need to develop a certain trade, the Labour Manager can then put you out with those engineers.

Are you looking forward to stepping into the field by yourself? Is it a scary thought or have you already been going to jobs yourself and are looking forward to it?

I’ve been to a couple of jobs myself, mainly just maintenance tasks and a few heating jobs fixing LTHW radiator panels. So that’s been good. It’s good to have that start because I did used to get really nervous about going out myself; I still do a bit, but after speaking to people like yourself who said the same at the start, it made me think that it’s okay and not just me, that definitely helped me quite a bit!

I think because I have been at ECG for 4 years now, I know the majority of the sites as well so that has put me further at ease too.

Now for the future…

Do you have a set plan for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next 5/10 years?

I’m just looking forward to getting out myself and getting my footing in that, to be honest! I have done mostly gas work through my Apprenticeship but I would like long-term to get properly into AC with Ground & Air Source Heat Pumps etc. as I can see that being the way things transition over the next 10 years anyway with gas being phased out.

I don’t know about any further than that right now, I couldn’t see myself being in the Compliance Team as that seems very trade-specific but I would probably like to be a Contract Manager or something similar.

Have you found it hard at all being a woman in the engineering industry?

Generally, no – but I think it can be hard when no one looks like you that is doing what you are doing. I know there is another female apprentice (Chelsea), but there is no one I can really look at and think to myself “I want to be like them”. That aspect can be difficult, but sometimes it can be quite funny as people comment “well done” and give nice comments like that.

Our clients are always nice as well, nobody has ever said anything bad or negative to me – it has actually all been positive which is great, but also funny in a way as I am just doing my job.

Do you think the next steps for trying to get more girls into our industry start at school, as that’s how you ended up getting into it?

Yes, definitely! Even though I knew I wanted to do something along the lines of engineering, it took someone from BESA coming in to enable me to see this as an opportunity for me – I wouldn’t have known about this Apprenticeship otherwise.

It also requires Guidance Teachers to be quite open-minded which was the case with mine; he encouraged me to go for an Apprenticeship rather than telling me to go to College or University like previous teachers had done.

Would you give any particular advice to women just starting in the industry or thinking about doing so?

Not particularly, no – nothing I wouldn’t give a boy – just to be keen and work hard! At the start, I would tell them it may feel a bit odd and a little bit out of place, but you very quickly get used to it and get to know the engineers and you fit in easily after that – the engineers all help with that.

Let’s hear a little bit more about you…

What do you do outside of work to relax, any hobbies?

I love playing sport, to be honest. Since moving out, I have taken up rugby and joined a team in Hamilton – I don’t know if I’m actually any good or not but I have been enjoying my first few games. I also play boules, 2 opposite sides of the scale but it’s a good change, takes your mind off things.

Apart from that, I spend most of my time doing stuff about the house; just getting used to the transition of living alone, but I love nothing more than coming in from work and having nothing to do – literally just lazing on the couch and relaxing.

And lastly, what do you think you would be doing if you weren’t working in Engineering?

I think I would still be doing something that is based on problem-solving or maybe logistical, but it would probably have been in an office. I think, again, if BESA hadn’t come to my school, I wouldn’t have known how to go about doing something like this. I’m glad that they did.

Thank you for your time, it’s much appreciated!

Credit to Jamie Agnew Photography for providing these photographs

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