To celebrate International Women’s Day we’ve asked women from across ScottishPower to share their experiences and what’s been most important to their career development in the energy industry. Julie Keough has gone from a Saturday girl in a ScottishPower shop to now helping ScottishPower attract the new, more diverse workforce we need for the future as Brand Director. She says great mentors have been pivotal to her success.
I had no idea on my first day as a Saturday girl in a ScottishPower high street store, that it would be the start of a 26-year career packed full of brilliant opportunities, professional growth and inspirational people.
To say the energy industry has changed dramatically from those days would be an understatement. But there’s still a way to go to get to where we need to be and I’m proud to be playing a part in helping shape that.
When I started out the general acceptance was that women sold white goods like washing machines and men sold brown goods like TVs. As crazy as that sounds today, it was all the sweeter when after finishing my degree, I’d moved into marketing those “brown goods” - which felt like some small progress!
Now I’m helping shape a different and much more diverse future for the industry as we’ve kickstarted our biggest ever recruitment drive in a search for over 1,000 new people to join our business. All research shows that diverse companies make better business decisions and are more profitable. The energy industry faces a skills gap, and we need a broader and more inclusive workforce to help us tackle climate change and deliver a low carbon future.
The big question is how do we attract a more diverse workforce into energy, how do we develop them on and how do we move them up?
For me, a pivotal part of my own career development was my first manager who also became a very important mentor to me. She was an expert in her field and had earned respect in a largely male dominated space. She effectively taught me my trade, invested in my development, and gave me the confidence and resilience I’d need to succeed in the workplace.
Working with great people has been a constant thread throughout my career. Rarely can you achieve success alone and success is far greater when shared. I’ve been supported, challenged and championed by inspirational leaders and encouraged at every opportunity to further my learning and my career. I’d like to think I’ve done the same throughout my journey too.
This industry has also given me no shortage of opportunities to progress and develop and with the drive to decarbonise ever more important there are great prospects for those that want to kickstart their career in energy.
This sector sits at the heart of the response to the climate crisis and the decisions and actions we take at ScottishPower matter. Our purpose has never been so relevant or meaningful and I feel it’s a real privilege working in the sector.