International Women in Engineering Day 2023: Sarah Hedges

We are celebrating International Women in Engineering Day by introducing some of our female engineers and hearing from them how they feel diversity has evolved since the first International Women in Engineering Day ten years ago.

We hear from Sarah Hedges, an Electrical Engineer working within the KBS Maritime Engineering, Assurance & Compliance Team (EnACT) and providing engineering support to KBS and other teams on the base and assuring our customer that the base facilities, plant and equipment are compliant and safe to operate.

Why did you want to become an engineer?

I wasn’t really too sure what I wanted to do when I left school but knew I wanted to do something that wasn’t boring and would keep me engaged and challenged. My teachers had a big hand in my eventual choice to go into engineering. They saw my potential and suggested I apply for one of the limited spaces that were being made available for engineering classes, which were new to the school. I ended up becoming the engineering lead prefect, passing my exams, and then applying for an advanced modern apprenticeship in electrical engineering. I’ve never looked back since.

Have you noticed any changes in diversity in engineering since you were studying?

There has been a huge change in diversity from when I was studying. When I started my studies, I was the only female in classes and the only female with the maintenance department on the shop floor over 17 years ago. I love learning so take every opportunity to continue studying and during my 17 years there has been an increase in the number of women applying for engineering roles and studies, although it is still much lower than our male counterparts.

Any advice for anyone wanting to study engineering?

If you’re interested in how things work, making things better or just someone who loves to learn and wants to be engaged, then just go for it. Engineering is such a diverse subject and there are so many different routes to take…Electrical, Mechanical, Civils, and so many more.

What do you think about International Women in Engineering Day?

I always find women in engineering day to be a great opportunity to meet and connect with other women across the business and from other businesses too. Several years ago, it made a huge difference as women were a large minority in the field of engineering. Now it just shows us how far we have come and how far we can go. I also like how many men get involved and support the day too, its always good to include everyone in the day.

Sarah is responsible for investigating deficiencies in the current electrical systems and helping to develop the future electrical systems across the base.

This photo is of the current electrical controls that open and close the caissons of our locks.