Women In Engineering Day

Lillian Gilbreth is just one of many female engineers celebrated on International Women in Engineering Day. We’ve featured Ria, who has just started on her own engineering career.


Lillian Evelyn Moller Gilbreth (May 24, 1878 – January 2, 1972) was best known for her work as an industrial engineer and a pioneer in the field of management theory. Dubbed “America’s first lady of engineering”, she brought her training in psychology to time-and-motion studies and demonstrated how companies and industries could improve their management techniques, efficiency, and productivity.

Gilbreth also made contributions on behalf of women. Her pioneering work in industrial engineering influenced women in the field. In addition to her lectures on various engineering topics, she encouraged women to study industrial engineering and management.

On Monday 30th July, P & I welcomed their very first female apprentice engineer, Ria Parsley.

In November 2017, Ria joined P & I for work experience whilst studying her BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Engineering at Havant and South Downs College. During the year-long course, students are expected to find work experience for a week with local businesses.

Ria impressed P & I so much with her attitude and work ethic, they offered her an apprenticeship as a service and maintenance apprentice engineer.

Having successfully completed her course with double distinction, Ria joined P & I in July to complete her P & I induction before starting with P & I’s apprenticeship partner, PETA.

PETA Ltd is a Hampshire-based training organisation set up in 1970 and has over 330-member companies including Portsmouth Water, Stannah Stairlifts, Wightlink, Portsmouth International Port, Kenwood, Airbus, Boeing and many others.

Ria commented:

“I really enjoyed my week with P & I back in November. Working on generators isn’t something you get to do at college, so it was good to be able to get some hands-on experience. I couldn’t believe it when they offered me an apprenticeship, I was so happy. I chose engineering as a career because I love practical things and the challenge of having to solve problems. I’m really looking forward to my time at P & I and all the things I am going to learn along the way.”

As a service and maintenance apprentice engineer, Ria will be completing the Level 3 NVQ Extended Diploma in Engineering Maintenance for the duration of her apprenticeship. Under the leadership of operations director, Alan Blair, Ria will receive plenty of support and guidance throughout her apprenticeship.

Alan commented:

“As a company, we strongly believe in investing in the next generation of our workforce. Our industry is niche and to be able to grow our own home-grown talent, is vital to our business. I look forward to working with Ria and watching her progress. The best part of my job is seeing the apprentices grow and develop with the company. I wish Ria every success with P & I.”

Commenting on Ria joining P & I, managing director, Paul Benfield said:

“Ria joining us is not only a momentous occasion for P & I but also for the engineering industry. Females make up only 11% of the engineering workforce and this must change. I hope Ria can be a positive role model and encourage other young females to get into engineering. When Ria joined us in November for her work experience, I was really impressed with her work ethic and her passion to learn. I can already tell that Ria will be a great asset to P & I.