Scholarship encourages engineering diversity

SP AusNet has offered a full engineering scholarship to one of its female employees for the second time in as many years.

With more than one million natural gas and electricity customers across Victoria, SP AusNet has an employee base of approximately 1500 people, which the power company is working to diversify as much as possible.

SP AusNet’s general manager people and safety, Geraldine Leslie said a number of steps had been taken to challenge the business to improve in diversity performance, especially in relation to gender diversity.

“It’s for this reason we offer our female employees the opportunity to apply for a full engineering scholarship, to help encourage more females into a traditionally male-dominated area,” Ms Leslie said.

“As an organisation that relies on the skills and talents of its people to deliver services, SP AusNet feels it is important to have access to the entire talent pool.”

This year the power company awarded the engineering scholarship to Nabeeha Sharma, an administration support officer in its integrated network service division.

Ms Sharma has been working in her current role at SP AusNet since April 2007; however she has maintained a strong interest in science and technology, with initial studies in nanotechnology and more recently a desire to transfer to electrical engineering.

Ms Leslie said Ms Sharma presented as a highly motivated and dedicated employee, who sees this scholarship as a great stepping stone to building an entirely new career path as an electrical engineer with SP AusNet.

“Nabeeha will be fully sponsored by the business to undertake her electrical engineering undergraduate studies commencing in March,” Ms Leslie said.

“Nabeeha will also be placed in an appropriate role within the network strategy and development division to support her electrical engineering studies moving forward,” she said.

The Women in Engineering Scholarship initiative was originally suggested by SP AusNet’s Diversity Initiatives Group in late 2007 with the purpose of creating stronger gender diversity within SP AusNet’s engineering function, as well as attracting more women electrical engineers into the wider industry.

Late last year SP AusNet was awarded a 2009 Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency Business Achievement Award for Outstanding Equal Employment Opportunity Practice for its advancement of women in a non-traditional area or role.

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