SELECT celebrates International Women’s Day with new film

SELECT is preparing to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) with a new film that celebrates the work of a member firm, which it says is ”a shining light of equality and inclusion.”

The new video from the campaigning body showcases the achievements of Orkney-based RS Merriman, which employs four female professionals in the front line of the electrical industry.

Entitled Inspiring Inclusion and available to view on SELECT’s YouTube channel, the film shows the women discussing why they decided to get into the sector and hears how much being a part of the electrical future means to them.

Qualified electrician and former Scottish Apprentice of the Year, Melanie Smith, reveals why she became involved in a traditionally male-dominated industry and says, “I grew up on a farm and I wanted to be doing something outdoors and something with my hands. I just love that every day is different, going outside and doing different things.”

Charlotte Jarvis, a fellow spark, also explains her reasons for taking up the tools and adds, “I also wanted a job that was out and about. I get to see all of Orkney this way, doing trips to the isles and everything, instead of being stuck in an office. I like actually making something instead of just sending emails all day.”

Founded just after the war, RS Merriman was instrumental in bringing electricity to the Orkneys, installing street lighting and domestic systems and becoming a key player when oil came to the remote area in the 1980s.

The film shows how the established firm is now pioneering equality of opportunity, with apprentice Shaynee Moar stating, “I’m quite a practical person. I like problem solving and fiddly things, so I thought that maybe being an electrician would suit me. I really, really enjoy it.”

Sadie Merriman also discusses her own career journey, which has seen her rise from electrician to Contracts Manager, and says, “I had a bit of an epiphany one day and thought, ‘Why don’t I do an apprenticeship with the family company?’ For a number of years, I was the only female in the electrical trade in Orkney.”

Alan Wilson, SELECT Managing Director, says, “The electrical sector in Scotland is committed to fair work for all, and we applaud firms such as RS Merriman who are taking positive steps in the right direction and striving to become a shining light of quality and inclusion.

“However, we all have a part to play and the wider industry would do well to follow its example and aim towards a working environment in which it is unremarkable that women play a full and professional part.”

Fiona Harper, Director of Employment and Skills at SELECT and The Secretary of the SJIB, says, “As well as celebrating the role of women, this video also emphasises the importance of training and how the industry is getting our apprentices ready to take on the challenges of renewable installation and the transition to net zero.”

To read more on SELECT, click here.

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