Energy Shift: Girls can make the difference

The energy transition is more urgent than ever. In the coming years, we will need many more technical professionals to install hundreds of thousands of hybrid heat pumps and solar panels. Girls and women play a major role in making the Netherlands sustainable. Today on Girls’ Day 2022, companies across the country are introducing girls to the tremendous career opportunities in technology. Doekle Terpstra, Techniek Nederland Chairman: “I am convinced that women can make a difference in the technology sector.”

Socially relevant

According to Doekle Terpstra, the energy transition is our biggest challenge. Technology is indispensable if we are to tackle climate change. Girls who want to do socially relevant work will find exactly what they are looking for in the tech sector.

More and more young women are seizing their opportunity to make fixtures. This can be seen in the culture within companies, which, according to Terpstra, is rapidly changing. Entrepreneurs understand that diversity in the workplace is not only good for atmosphere and creativity, but also productivity. Social innovation is important to making tech companies more attractive to everyone. More women’s participation is good for industry and good for society.

Technology really is a woman’s thing

The technology sector has long since ceased to contain only “male-typical occupations”. In the industry, communication skills, creativity and the ability to communicate between people are becoming increasingly important. These are all traits that women get on average. In addition, materials have become lighter and techniques become more refined, which makes the physical aspect of work much easier. So it stands to reason that the flow of girls into technical vocational education is growing slowly but surely. But if it were up to the Doekle Terpstra, things would go much faster. There are plenty of opportunities for young women as consultants, designers or data analysts, but also as technicians. In addition, our industry offers great opportunities for growth. If we can increase the proportion of girls in tech, we’ll make a big move. They can make the difference.

Elaine Besselsen (24 years old) worked in a clothing store, but after a while she felt that she would be more at home in an artistic career. She moved to Breman Installatiegroep, where she now works as a construction service employee. “The nice thing about my job is that I can use my entire creativity. Researching a problem, brainstorming, eliminating potential causes and continuing to look for a solution is great. She also advises other women to come and work in tech.

“The more women who do this, the easier the step will be for other women.”

Dennis Boysman (24 years old) is also happy with technology. She worked in the police and in healthcare, but really found her career as an electrical engineer at Engberts Elektrotechniek. There is not a single day, every day I learn new things. This gives me a boost to see the results of my work every day. This is what makes this job so interesting. Denise doesn’t mind that she mainly works with men.

Male fellows are straight-headed and easy to handle. It makes me really happy.’

Soehsma Ganpat, 38, worked as a postman and cleaner before becoming a service technician for installation technology at Breman Installatiegroep. I am very happy and happy with the work I am doing now. I am always among people and work independently. Moreover, the work is very satisfying, and people are happy when I solve a malfunction of the central heating boiler. Women may think they can’t do the work, but you just have to dare to take the step. If you are open to it, you will succeed. Soeshma continues to evolve. You will soon follow a heat pump installation course.

Positive and inspiring voice

The world of technology is unknown to many young people, especially girls. It is therefore important to introduce them to the diversity, possibilities, and social significance of technology at an early age.

Today, it’s happening at network operators TenneT, Alliander, Enexis Netbeheer and Stedin on Girls’ Day, a day that aims to get girls between the ages of 10 and 15 excited about education and careers in science, technology, and information technology. 6,500 girls from all over the country are participating in the online Girls Day kick-off, where they meet technology professionals in different companies.

Fortunately, girls at different school levels are increasingly choosing the artistic and education profile. Unfortunately this is not enough. 3% of technical professionals in the Netherlands are women. So he lost a lot of talent. This is why network operators will sound a positive and inspiring voice on Girls’ Day, allowing girls to experience the energy transition and energize them to be part of the change.

Take the tests

In TenneT 50 girls come to its information centers in Eemshaven, Kruiningen and Wijk aan Zee. There they talk to technicians and do different experiments, for example how you can light a light with lemon. A visit to the transformer station is also in the program. At Wijk aan Zee, the group also goes ashore where casing tubes are ready for cables that will be laid in the spring to bring in wind energy produced on the seashore.

TenneT CEO Manon van Beek: “The energy transition requires a massive expansion and consolidation of the power grid. An additional 13,000 technicians will be needed in the coming years. We need young people, especially girls, interested in a future in energy technology as soon as possible.”

speed dating

In Alliander, 60 girls from Zevenaarse Liemers School in Duiven come from Zevenaarse Liemers School in Duiven to visit the tech company. A multidisciplinary team of trainees and role models in the field of Information Technology and Human Resources (HR) has prepared a program for them that matches the motivations of the girls. This year with more attention to technology and data: innovation and digitization of work. Speed ​​dates with female models, a detailed online camp, and application design are all part of the programme.

Marlis Visser, Director of Operations at Allianders: “I strongly believe that a fresh look for young girls can contribute to the acceleration we need. So I would like to encourage all ambitious, creative and committed girls to choose technology and come and work with us.”

learning in practice

At Enexis Netbeheer, 30 girls from different elementary schools visit the training hall in Hoogeveen. In this room, Enexis Netbeheer trains technicians to simulate practical situations as realistically as possible. There are (training) cables in the ground and light poles and you can practice on different transformer stations. The day begins with an interactive contest titled “Power up!”. The girls learn about the world behind the power socket and hear stories from women working in science, technology, and IT. Then the girls go in groups to do a number of activities in the training hall, such as doing a so-called cable tie between two cables and are given a ride on the mechanic’s work bus.
Paul Peter Field, Director of Human Resources, Enexis Netbeheer: “By spreading female role models in technology, we hope to spark interest in as many girls as possible to choose art education. You can go in so many directions with this and you can really make an impact by contributing to accelerating Transmission of energy on your own.”

an example

About 70 girls attend Stedin Bedrijfsschool in Rotterdam. Not many girls have ever signed up. With the guidance of eight female technicians, the girls learn about working in technology and learn how the smart meter works. They also receive information about what Stedin does with energy from heat, wind, and sun, play a game of innovation together and perform tasks, such as those that occur in the technician’s daily life.

Stedin COO Trudy Onland: “We are taking part in Girls’ Day to show you what technology can offer! We hope the girls will come home full of energy and inspiration afterwards and apply enthusiastically for a job in technology in a few years; I have learned that young people have come of age.”

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