With only 28% of the STEM workforce made up of women, finding a female hydraulic service technician in the world of hydraulics and pneumatics is quite literally like finding a needle in a haystack. So when Jess Craddock joined the Pirtek team towards the end of 2021 she already knew that she was likely to be the only woman on her team. It certainly didn’t faze her. Jess previously worked in a factory as a fuel fitter for Airbus – another predominantly male environment – so working alongside a team of men wasn’t unusual for her.
Having already decided that the factory environment was not for her, Jess started to look around for other job opportunities and saw and advert for a Hydraulic Service Technician at Pirtek.
“I looked at the outline of the job and it sounded like the sort of challenge I would enjoy,” said Jess. “I also researched a bit more about Pirtek as a company because I didn’t know of them, and they came highly recommended by people I trusted.
I also loved the fact that the people who run the company have worked on the tools themselves which gives them a unique insight into the challenges the team faces on a day-to-day basis.”
A typical day for Jess starts at the depot at 8am. Here she collects all the parts she needs for the day, catches up with the rest of the team and reviews her schedule. By 9am she is either on the road heading to jobs, or is in the depot checking in with some customers over the phone. Once every three weeks she is on call for out of hours emergency support for customers, and she sees this as another interesting aspect of the job. “Sometimes you can go all week and not get a single call. Other times you can have multiple calls in one evening. The great part is that you get to fix people’s problems for them and get them back up and running – job satisfaction at its best.”
But does being a woman make a difference? “Not at all, although I do enjoy the shock factor that I often see in customers’ faces when I turn up and do the same job as my male colleagues can do. It’s a great talking point with many of my customers and I believe that it has become the foundation of many of the great relationships I have.”
The most challenging job that Jess has worked on so far with Pirtek was a crane. She had never worked on one before and every aspect of the job was challenging from the size of the machine to the actual fix itself. “The successful completion of the repair was a very rewarding experience and one that will stay with me for a long time,” comments Jess. “It’s part of what I love about my job – no two jobs are the same but the joy of fixing something that is broken is a real buzz.”
Jess is also very complimentary about the training that she has received as a new Hydraulic Service Technician. “The Pirtek training is quite literally second to none and I am not just saying that because I work here. I see many people from companies outside of Pirtek attending the training because the knowledge that our trainers can offer is first class and industry leading. It really helps to inform what you do on a daily basis, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
So with all that she knows about a life as an hydraulic service technician with Pirtek would she recommend it to others? “Absolutely! It’s a job that will always test you, you will never get bored, and you will learn something new every day. And to any other women out there wondering whether they could cut it in this environment I say go for it – I have never, not even for one second, regretted my decision to join the Pirtek team and I am certain that other women would feel just as welcomed as I did.”