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Nichola Zanda’s 25 years in male-dominated industry

Derwent Training is celebrating 25 year’s service for one of our employees this International Women’s Day – despite females continuing to be underrepresented in the engineering industry.

Nichola Zanda joined the business in 1999 as a receptionist, having previously worked in the travel industry. During her time in this role she was trained to use data systems, which led to her being promoted into the senior team in 2018. Her new position as Business Support Manager saw her become a line manager to the whole business support team, in addition to other responsibilities.

The Business Support department includes marketing, sales, funding, registrar functions, assessing all apprentice applications before onboarding starts, conducting onboarding and assessing additional learning support needs, and coordinating support functions to ensure the business simply functions.

CEO, Claire Gavaghan said: ”When I first arrived as CEO, I think it is fair to say that Nichola was unsure of her own abilities. However it was evident to me that she was more than capable if she was encouraged to follow her instinct because she had a vast amount of knowledge.”

”I gave Nichola space to take the lead once the direction and strategy was agreed and finalised. She always seeks guidance when needed but quite simply – she has flown. She has my full confidence when speaking to the Department of Education or any auditor. I have certainly seen her as an integral part of the Derwent Training team during the five years I have been here. I congratulate her on her 25 years at an independent training provider – just think of the number of apprentices she has supported, what a phenomenal achievement.”

Research conducted in 2022 shows that women make up 16.5% of all UK engineers and females represent 23% of the construction and utilities workforce, but there is a target in place to grow these figures to at least 30% by 2030.

Nichola said: ”I started as a young woman who moved across from working in the travel industry and the education sector was completely new to me. I am proud to have worked my way up in the company and have seen a lot of changes both in the education sector and the company as it has grown. It has not always been easy, however I have been able to make a significant contribution to its success and stability. Looking back, I smile at the young woman who was not sure she would stay – but look at me now!”

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