Next generation of engineers goes off the rails

Monday, 26 June 2017

Seeing trains in a different light were 20 female school pupils and their teachers from Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow, when they had tour of the ScotRail Alliance’s Shields train depot for International Women into Engineering day 2017.

They were met by the ScotRail Alliance’s engineering director, Angus Thom, who took them around the busy depot where they saw electric trains in for maintenance, cleaning and refurbishment.

While girls don’t always consider engineering as a career choice, they could see for themselves that technology plays a major part in train engineering, a world away from oily overalls and heavy machinery.

This visit was part of a wider programme of out-reach and attraction work that the ScotRail Alliance is undertaking to attract more female candidates to apply and join not only engineering but also the wider railway business.

The ScotRail Alliance’s Director of HR, John Gillies, said: “Without doubt a train depot is a busy and hectic workplace that offers career opportunities and a rewarding career.

“We welcome all candidates bringing the correct skills and knowledge to our workforce. We also want to increase the number of female candidates applying to work in all parts of the ScotRail Alliance and the depot visit hopefully demonstrated to the girls that this is a challenging and vibrant environment that they’d want to work in.”

Two of the ScotRail Alliance’s senior engineering managers – Syeda Ghufran and Lynsey McCabe – also took the girls through a ‘day in the life’ of an engineer and answered their questions.

Syeda, who’s head of engineering projects, enjoyed sharing her experience on the railway: “Girls in particular don’t seem to think that engineering is a suitable career for them, despite their achievements in maths and science at school.

“Scotland is currently facing a shortage of engineering skills and there are very few female engineers in the STEM industry to fill this gap. I am very passionate about engineering as a profession as it gives you a chance to create new things and develop new ideas to make this world a better place to live and we need more girls to help us do that!"


  • Anyone interested in a career with the ScotRail Alliance should refer to the careers page on the company website.
  • National Women in Engineering Day was set up by the Women’s Engineering Society to celebrate its 95th anniversary
  • On 23 June 2014 WES wanted to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it was important to address an engineering skills shortage. By encouraging girls into engineering careers, WES increases diversity and inclusion but also fills the future job opportunities predicted in this sector.