THE coronavirus pandemic made a Peeblesshire woman rethink her career goals and take up a new role in engineering.

Hayley Goldthorpe, of Peebles, had been studying short courses in sound engineering and PAT testing – as well as being in a band – when COVID-19 made her think about what she wanted to do as her career.

So, in October 2021 the 33-year-old joined Openreach in the fibre service delivery department.

Explaining why she chose a career in engineering, Hayley said: "It appealed to me as it was a new challenge, hands on, working outside and working towards the future.

"I install and repair fibre, recover copper, climb telegraph poles and work in underground structures in order to connect fibre to customer’s homes and businesses. My job also includes a lot of customer service.

"I started training in October and went live after buddying with an experienced engineer at the end of December."

And on what she likes most about her job, Hayley said: "Meeting people, working alongside like-minded individuals and everyday being a different challenge.

"I love the view from the top of telegraph poles and feeling like I have achieved something by completing an install."

Hayley explained that sometimes members of the public are 'surprised' to see her show up to jobs.

But she also hopes that young girls will see her in her role as an engineer and realise any job is open to them.

She said: "It is great being a female engineer.

"It can take some customers and members of the public by surprise when they see a woman with all the gear on working away.

"There have been many times where people have said things like, 'I hope I am not offending you by saying, it is great to see a lady working in that job role'. Or things like, 'I was expecting a man. I am not complaining but I am glad you’re a woman'.

"I was doing an install from a telegraph pole in someone’s back garden and a little girl came to the window and was waving.

"I remember thinking to myself I hope she recognises a woman working in a “masculine” role and realises that she doesn’t need to conform to gender roles when she grows up.

"You never know, she might be a female engineer one day too."

And Hayley wants to encourage more women to take up engineering jobs.

"If you like problem solving, hard work and a rewarding career, then it’s for you," she said. "The world is changing, and it is a job that’s constantly growing.

"More women are becoming engineers which is fantastic.

"We are women and we are capable.

"The team I work with are so supportive and all very helpful.

"It’s a well-paid apprenticeship and there are so many opportunities to develop your career."