Three case studies by women who have benefited from engaging with Equate Scotland; Geraldine, Jenny and Hetty.


Geraldine is a chartered civil engineer with 30 years’ experience. Around the time of the global financial crisis, she returned to work after having her second child. During her maternity leave, the company changed hands and her new employer restructured to adapt to the external conditions. As part of this process she was put on notice of redundancy and reduced to 2.5 days/week. These changes, alongside her family situation, resulted in her feeling vulnerable. Ultimately, she kept her job but her professional aspirations were overshadowed by her gratitude for continued employment in difficult times.


During this challenging time, she started actively looking for support. Geraldine came across Equate Scotland online. She attended various networking events and career development courses and recalls it kept her feeling motivated and valued as an engineer. As Geraldine’s young family grew, her professional aspirations returned to focus. She then participated in our Coaching for Success Programme with the dual objectives of exploring ways to progress her career and improve her work-life balance. She says that, through the coaching, her confidence grew. Guided by her coach to exploit her strengths, she decided to remain in engineering and use her knowledge with her current employer. She recognised that because of the previous few years her own visibility within the company had diminished, and she sought to address this. Through coaching she strengthened her profile within the company, leading to new work prospects and a more positive frame of mind.


Encouraged by this, she now actively seeks roles that are more challenging and is seen as a subject matter expert in her field. She has written subject specific guidance with a professional institute and has obtained a  fellowship with another engineering institution. Before the Coaching Programme, she would not have felt qualified or confident to pursue these opportunities.

“Equate helped me to realise my skills were still valid after some
challenging times in my career. If it wasn’t for the coaching
programme I probably would not be in engineering now.”


Jenny wanted to return to work in engineering following a long career break. She graduated in mechanical engineering and then worked for 6 years as an aerospace engineer. Following a move to Edinburgh in 2003, she could not find an appropriate job as an engineer and so followed her other passion and became a personal trainer ultimately owning her own business.


After 10 years in the fitness industry, Jenny realised she needed a new challenge. She started to think about returning to engineering, but she felt she was no longer qualified. Looking for information about engineering jobs, Jenny came across Equate Scotland and other women’s networks. She started to attend events and through these engagements decided to return to university to complete a Masters Degree in renewable energy ensuring her knowledge and skills were up to date. After graduating, Jenny was still unsure what her next steps should be, so she got back in touch with Equate and attended a career clinic. Following that, she signed up for our 2016 Returners Programme and obtained a short-term placement in the renewables sector.

“I found the returners programme a brilliant stepping stone to build my
confidence to know what I was looking for from a job and equally
importantly, being confident in what I had to offer.”

Jenny then enrolled on to our Career Enhancement Programme. She says the programme helped her further define her aspirations for the future. Networking with other women at different stages in their careers gave her a better understanding of the diversity of work career trajectories.


Through her new networks and within a few months, a large engineering company approached her with a job offer for the position of senior R&D Engineer.

“I’d urge the women to make the most of the opportunities offered by Equate as it’s such a great way to build networks and build career momentum.”


Hetty is a Mechanical Engineer. Since she graduated 5 years ago, she has had a number of jobs, many of them outwith engineering. Her varied career path includes working in TV and project management for overseas NGOs. When she returned to Edinburgh, she wanted to return to engineering and started to actively look for a graduate-level position.


Through her online searches she learnt about Equate Scotland and got in touch. She was looking for support to promote her engineering background and project management expertise. At her one-to-one Career Clinic Hetty discussed her job search with Helen, our career coach, including the challenges of applying for jobs when your experience doesn’t fit a standard job description.

Following the session, she took action on the ideas discussed and, with our help, contacted three women engineers working in different businesses. This gave her the opportunity to listen to their stories and test her assumptions about the engineering jobs she had been considering. From this she gained a clearer vision for her career.

With Helen’s support she adapted her CV to reflect her wider transferable skill set and also approached companies speculatively rather than relying on job adverts.


She says our career support was focussed and professional. Follow-up and feedback emails urged her to carry on and supported her to reflect on whether engineering was the right sector for her. In the months following the career clinics, Hetty applied for a role in an engineering consultancy and was successful. She has now started her new
mechanical engineering role.