Girl power at CLP

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, 12:00am

IF YOU THOUGHT that occupations such as technicians and engineers are strictly for the boys, think again.

More and more girls are taking such jobs and have proved they can perform just as well as their male peers.

Twenty-four-year-old Evelyn Lo Yin-fung is the first female technician trainee that CLP Power has ever employed.

The firm currently has more than 270 technicians.

Evelyn, who graduated with a higher diploma in electrical engineering, was selected from more than 300 applicants to be one of four successful candidates to join CLP Power's technician training programme last September.

Since then, she and her three 'fellow' trainees have been together every day as part of their two-year training programme.

'I don't see a big difference between us [girls and boys]. We work together. What they can do, I can do as well. We are treated equally,' said Ms Lo.

Thanks to technological advances, being a technician is not as physically strenuous as it had been in the past.

Much harder to change are peoples' attitudes and perceptions towards a woman taking on such a job.

Once, when Ms Lo phoned a customer on behalf of the power system business group, the customer questioned her identity as a technician. He did not expect it was a woman.

But Ms Lo has a habit of defying expectations and surprising people.

Instead of being able to study electrical engineering, her first choice, Jupas allocated her to a higher diploma programme in translation. She scored As in both English and Chinese in her A-Levels while her science subjects were only average.

She was obliged to study translation for one year and performed outstandingly.

But her heart was not set on the subject, and she eventually transferred to an electrical engineering programme the following year. 'My family strongly opposed my choice. They felt I had wasted a year

and warned me that few girls worked as technicians. But I really loved studying electricity,' said Ms Lo.

'I was young and wanted to try more things. I didn't want to have regrets in the future,' said Ms Lo, who is studying part-time for a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering on the way to becoming an engineer.

The same aspect of challenge also drove Vivian Leung Sin-yee, 26, to be an engineer. She joined CLP Power in 2004 as a graduate trainee.

'I'm the younger sister. Since I was a child, I've always competed with my brother. I think girls are just as capable as boys. I studied electrical engineering at university because I wanted to beat the boys and prove that girls could excel in science subjects,' said Ms Leung, who graduated with first-class honours.

As more girls study engineering, CLP Power has seen rising numbers of female applicants for engineering jobs. About one out of every seven applicants is a woman.

Among the 1,100 engineers in CLP Power, there are only 20 women.

'We expect there to be more female engineers in the near future. As long as the applicants are smart and dedicated, we don't care about their gender,' said CLP Power's human resources manager of power systems, Daniel Chu Hok-man.