09 Aug 2022

Local Female Engineer Switches on the Future of Skills in Derry

Ailish McLaughlin NIE Networks

As the final countdown begins to Skills NI 2018, Northern Ireland’s largest skills and careers event, electrical engineer, Ailish McLaughlin, from Craigbane, is calling on young people from across Derry to get involved and kick start their career.

Skills NI is an extraordinary careers, jobs, skills and apprenticeship event, which gives young people the opportunity to explore future skills, make informed higher learning choices and get work ready. The free two-day event is aimed at ensuring 14-19 year olds get the best possible start to their careers.

Currently a Connections Planning Engineer with NIE Networks, the headline sponsor of this year’s event, Ailish is encouraging young people, teachers and parents to come along to the event at the Titanic Exhibition Centre 7-8 November to hear more about the opportunities NIE Networks can offer.

“I had initially planned a very different career in law but when my physics teacher mentioned there were exceptional opportunities in the field of engineering, I reconsidered. Skills NI is about connecting talented young people with career and skills opportunities they may not have previously considered and helps them plan the best educational path to follow.”

NIE Networks, who will be on hand to provide advice and information at Skills NI, offer a range of career opportunities including apprenticeships, work placements, graduate trainee programmes and scholarships.

“It was during my university work placement year that I got my first taste of working for NIE Networks, before going on to secure employment through the company’s graduate trainee programme. Over the last five years I’ve progressed to Connections Planning Engineer where I manage a team to provide designs and quotations to customers who want to connect to the electricity network.

“I’m one of only a few females within the company who is designated as a Senior Authorised Person up to 33,000 Volts which means I can switch the (power) network off/on to make the network safe to complete work such as installing new electricity connections, carrying out planned line maintenance or storm repairs.

“With such a demand for STEM skills this is an incredibly exciting time to join the industry especially with the expansion of renewable energy technology. NIE Networks are at the leading edge of developing innovative technology and platforms so I can’t encourage young people enough to visit us at Skills NI and see where their career could take them.”

Skills NI 2018 takes place at the Titanic Exhibition Centre 7-8 November from 9:30am – 3.00pm. NIE Networks can be found at Stand 26. Alternatively, to find out more about the career opportunities available with NIE Networks, visit

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