Support for more women in STEM careers

One of Montrose Port Authority’s newest non-executive directors is spurring on young women to consider careers in STEM and renewable energy, particularly with the offshore wind industry growing right off the Angus coast.
​Captain Eilidh Smith says it is important to get more women involved in the foundation of what is still a young industry.​Captain Eilidh Smith says it is important to get more women involved in the foundation of what is still a young industry.
​Captain Eilidh Smith says it is important to get more women involved in the foundation of what is still a young industry.

Captain Eilidh Smith, an Unlimited Master Mariner who came ashore in 2015, joined the Montrose Port Authority Board in October and is the Marine Assurance Manager for Offshore Operations & Maintenance at ScottishPower Renewables

She said: “I’m in charge of looking after all the vessels for offshore wind operations and maintenance globally at our company. Currently this is for two offshore wind sites but we do have many emerging projects all over the world.”

Like many other STEM areas, The energy sector is viewed as male-dominated, which is starting to be seen in the renewable sector. According to an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report, women account for 32% of the renewable energy workforce globally with 45% of that in administrative roles and only 28% in STEM roles.

Eilidh continued: “The role I’m in didn’t exist at ScottishPower Renewables before I started so I’m making it my own. The offshore wind industry is young and so I’m absolutely loving being here at the start of it. The decisions I make are shaping the future so it’s a big responsibility.

“This is why I would absolutely encourage girls and young women to get into STEM roles and renewable careers. It’s important to get women into the mix in these emerging industries as our expertise and perspectives add to the diverse talent pool to pull from in order to enable the energy transition.”

Eilidh added that so far her time with the port board has been extremely positive.

She said: "One of the first things we did as a board when I joined was agree to the Plug Montrose joint venture which will see Montrose become one of the first ports in Scotland to offer shore power to vessels working in the energy industry. This facility is expected to be in operation in around nine months’ time and will see vessels plug into the grid, turning off their engines when at berth.

“They’re a proactive team at Montrose. It’s all very well saying you’re going to do something but it’s another when you put investment behind it and do it so it’s great to see that happen at Montrose.”

“Decarbonising our industry is one of the main things we have been looking at within Scottish Power. Once the offshore wind turbines are manufactured, the most carbon in our industry comes from vessel emissions so being able to be a part of fixing that right at the beginning of my time on the Montrose Port Board is fantastic.

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