A non-STEM affinity with Greg Clark
EA Technology's Gill Noweell is relieved to find a fellow non-science, engineering, maths or technology expert join the world of energy.
14th July 2016 by Networks
The news of Greg Clark’s appointment as Secretary of State for the newly-created Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, must be welcomed.
With a degree in Economics from Cambridge University and a PhD from the London School of Economics, Mr Clark hails from a comprehensive school background. His tenure with the Boston Consulting Group, one of the world’s top business strategy firms, surely tells us that he is a highly intelligent, capable and resilient human being.
I have a predisposition to tenuous links. I feel an affinity and a kinship with Greg Clark. I was heartened to see neither science, technology, engineering nor maths qualification per se in his background information on his website. Let’s not dwell on whether economics or indeed his PhD subject constitutes one of these. Let’s agree ‘not’ for now. Which leads me on to the value of being a non-STEM professional in a STEM-orientated workplace.
As a STEMNet Ambassador with MerseySTEM, I am keen to share my 15 years’ experience in industry with young people; I have worked across recycling, energy, environmental technologies and power engineering consultancy within that timeframe. My aim is to inspire, and to open up new avenues of career possibilities for school children, undergraduates and graduates alike. The only trouble is, I haven’t done any STEMNet volunteering yet. Unlike energy with its trilemma, I have just one dilemma. I do not have a background in any of the STEM subjects. Not even close. So, although I know that I have a lot to offer, I am struggling to find a volunteering activity that fits my credentials.
“So what exactly are your credentials?!” I hear you ask. And you may well ask. As I sit here at my desk at EA Technology, a global power engineering company that is celebrating 50 years in business this year, I sometimes ask myself the same question. Coming from a legal background with an MBA in Environmental Management thrown in for good measure, I was brought into EA Technology as a non-technical interface to work with people, projects and as it turns out, electric vehicles. My strengths lie in brokering partnerships and fostering relationships, in bid development and project management. And I think differently to many of my extraordinarily clever and brilliant-minded colleagues. It takes all sorts to make the world go round, and it takes all sorts of qualities, personalities and variety of thinking to make a project, a team and a business successful.
It can be a challenge and quite exhausting to work in a highly technical workplace; it can also be all too easy to be put into a ‘non-technical’ pigeon hole. And I won’t even mention that I am a woman in a very male-dominated environment. I refuse to accept that I will not do as well or reach such dizzying heights of success as many of my colleagues who are ‘technical’.
As it turns out, a surprising percentage of work undertaken within a company like EA Technology is non-technical. It takes a healthy mix of skillsets, mindsets and sheer determination to succeed and to add value to a business. And I strive to do that on a daily basis.
I wish Greg Clark all the very best in his new endeavour. STEM or no-STEM, he is in a position to make positive and lasting change to our energy, business and industrial landscapes.
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