An engineer working for the train operator Northern has said women shouldn’t wait to be ‘encouraged’ to consider a career in engineering – saying the sector’s employment credentials speak for themselves.

In a rallying cry to women across the country, Rebecca Prendergast says engineering offers excellent career progression, the opportunity to work on exciting multi-million-pound projects and higher than average salaries.

Rebecca, who is currently a senior production manager for operations at Northern’s TrainCare Centre at Newton Heath in Manchester, has spoken out ahead of International Women in Engineering Day on Sunday (23 June).

She says: “Engineering has so much to offer in terms of a fulfilling career. Women shouldn’t wait for anyone to ‘encourage’ them into it, they should take the initiative and make it happen themselves - they won’t regret it.

“I appreciate it’s still a male dominated industry – but the same benefits that make this a great career for men are just as true for women.

“I get the opportunity to work on something integral to the success of the region I call home – and that’s incredibly rewarding.”

Having originally joined Northern as a train conductor in 2013, Rebecca has already climbed several rungs up the engineering career ladder.

She made the move into the engineering team in 2018 when she became a depot train driver and went on to become an instructor for other depot train drivers in 2020.

Since then, she has taken on a bigger role at the TrainCare Centre, working as a shift production manager before being promoted into her current role in December 2023.

Rebecca added: “It hasn’t always been plain sailing – I didn’t get some of those jobs on the first attempt – but you have to just keep going and never give up.

“What I’ve found to be the case is that, within engineering, there’s a great sense of willing you on to succeed. Why wouldn’t a woman want to work in that environment?”

International Women in Engineering Day is an annual event organised by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to promote the contribution of female engineers around the world.

The WES is a registered charity founded at the end of the First World War when women who had been employed in technical fields found it difficult to continue working as engineers.

Over a hundred years later they continue to ensure equality for women in engineering and support the industry to be inclusive. For more information, visit:

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.