Mumtaz Patel’s career-defining decision to switch from an office job to a field based operational role came with a natural worry about how she would be perceived by a majority-male workforce.
What was your career path?
I joined Cadent’s predecessors straight from school, on a youth training scheme, learning quickly and rising to managerial posts that mainly focused on customer service.
Then, after an office closure and company restructuring, there came a choice between taking a redundancy package or retraining to move into operational, engineering functions. My CV now lists management of gas mains replacement projects, connecting thousands of homes and businesses to gas, and supervision of repair teams.
What does your role involve?
I currently act as the liaison between Cadent and its gas mains replacement contractors, managing customer satisfaction performance and ensuring that street-works and reinstatement comply with legislation and meet quality standards.
What were your biggest fears?
When I moved from the office role, I thought it would be an issue, but it wasn’t. The guys were very respectful – if anything they might have tried to over-accommodate and at times I felt I had to ask them not to. The important thing for me was to be treated equally. Operations is a 24/7 job and I didn’t want to be treated any differently because I was a single mum, a woman, or Muslim. I found people respected that.
“I like to use and tell my experiences to the next new generation of girls who might like the idea of a career in engineering. I tell them it is far from a mundane job; every day is different and rewarding.”
What’s your proudest achievement?
I hold a MSc in Construction Management and I’m very proud to have developed and delivered an eight-week engineering module for Burnley’s University Technical College (earning plaudits and nominations for awards for having done so).
Employers in energy and utilities sector are committed to a culture of workplace inclusion and diversity. Find out more about working for Cadent and read other inspirational Stories from those working in our sector. If you're thinking about applying for a role, visit our Current Vacancies page.