Development Officer - Renewables

Laura Nicolson

Job title:
Development Officer – Revenue Projects

Community Energy Scotland

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be in the job you are currently in?

I studied for a degree in Electrical Engineering and was sponsored by a company with whom I did a summer placement. On realising this was not what I wanted to do I decided to get involved in voluntary work. I was lucky enough to realise that I could combine my engineering skills with my passion for community development.

What attracted you to this area of work?

Working with people and also working in the Renewable Energy Industry.

In what ways were you encouraged or discouraged to pursue your chosen career? Please explain further.

I was luckily always encouraged by teachers and university lecturers. Of course I was often teased for being the only / or small minority of girls but I was secretly proud of that.

What subjects did you study at school/college/university?

Maths, Physics, English, Georgraphy, Gaelic, Electrical Engineering

What attracted you to taking those subjects?

I loved Maths and I enjoyed Physics, the reason I came into Electrical Engineering was that I was lucky enough to go to a WISE* away week at the age of 16. Luckily my Physics teacher saw that I enjoyed these subjects and encouraged me. I was also fortunate to be the only girl in my Physics class.

WISE is a programme which runs in schools to encourage and support girls to study science, engineering and technology and enter SET careers.

Finally, in general why do you think less girls and young women study science, engineering and technology subjects?

Because boys are encouraged to do it no matter their ability but girls are only really encouraged if they have a noticeable ability in the maths and physics area. Socially girls are less inclined to hobbies in the engineering area but this can often be due to chances available rather than a choice not to participate.

Not all girls’ ability shines through – many just need a chance to let it shine through practical experience in a fun way!

 Development Officer - Renewables