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Louise Williamson: Birse

Louise Williamson is a main board director at Birse, one of the few women engineers to reach such a senior position with a contractor.

She is now using her position to help other women engineers break through the glass ceiling which prevents many of them from getting construction posts.

Williamson graduated from City University in 1988 before going to work as a junior engineer at Sir Robert McAlpine.

She progressed via a series of building and civils projects to become senior engineer on the A50 improvement near Stoke. She then joined Birse as regional manager for the southeast.

Williamson joined the board after taking part in a training programme aimed at promoting women to senior positions.

She is also working with a mentoring scheme for women piloted by Teesside University.

People are becoming a lot more aware of equal opportunities, she says, while admitting that sometimes her efforts appear to be going nowhere. She thinks the current skill shortage, and lack of qualified engineers, will force recruiters to stop ignoring women

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