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Celebrating equality in the electrical industry

To celebrate International Women’s Day, SELECT travelled north to Orkney to meet a quartet of electrical professionals for a special film that salutes the work of Member firm RS Merriman

Female staff from an historic Member firm were the stars of a special film that was released by SELECT to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.

Launched on the eve of the global event on 8 March, the video showcased the achievements of Orkney-based RS Merriman, which employs four female professionals in the front line of the electrical industry.

Entitled Inspiring Inclusion, and now available to view on SELECT’s YouTube channel, the film showed the quartet discussing why they decided to get into the sector and heard how much being a part of the electrical future means to them.

Qualified electrician and former Scottish Apprentice of the Year Melanie Smith revealed why she became involved in a traditionally male-dominated industry, telling viewers: “I grew up on a farm and I wanted to be doing something outdoors and something with my hands. I just love that every day is different, going outside and doing different things.”

“I like problem-solving and fiddly things, so I thought that maybe being an electrician would suit me. I really, really enjoy it”

Fellow RS Merriman spark Charlotte Jarvis also explained her reasons for taking up the tools, adding: “I also wanted a job that was out and about. I get to see all of Orkney this way, doing trips to the isles and everything, instead of being stuck in an office. I like actually making something instead of just sending emails all day.”

Apprentice Shaynee Moar also appeared in the film, revealing: “I’m quite a practical person. I like problem-solving and fiddly things, so I thought that maybe being an electrician would suit me. I really, really enjoy it.”

And Sadie Merriman also discussed her own career journey, which has seen her rise from electrician to Contracts Manager, adding: “I had a bit of an epiphany one day and thought, ‘Why don’t I do an apprenticeship with the family company?’. For quite a number of years I was the only woman in the electrical trade in Orkney.”

The video was shot on location in Orkney in early February, with a film crew following Melanie, Charlotte and Shaynee as they worked in several locations, and interviewing Sadie in the company’s head office at Stromness.

It’s hoped that the film will encourage more women to become electricians

Alan Wilson, SELECT Managing Director, said: “We’d like to thank RS Merriman and their staff for taking the time out of their busy schedule to participate in this special video.

“International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and we are pleased to highlight a progressive Member company which is putting these aims into practical effect. The electrical sector in Scotland is committed to fair work for all and we applaud firms such as RS Merriman who are taking positive steps in the right direction and striving to become a shining light of quality and inclusion. However, we all have a part to play and the wider industry would do well to follow its example and aim towards a working environment in which it is unremarkable that women play a full and professional part.”

Produced with the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and Unite the Union, the video coincided with Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which ran from 4-8 March.


The film followed Melanie (left) and Shaynee on their journey

Watch the video

To watch the video, go to


Firm is a shining example of innovation

Founded just after the Second World War in 1946, RS Merriman was instrumental in bringing electricity to Orkney, installing street lighting and domestic systems and becoming a key player when oil arrived  in the 1980s.

Over the years the company has continued to increase its knowledge and experience and now has a diverse portfolio of domestic, commercial and industrial work.

As well as working in schools, medical facilities and leisure amenities, its electricians also cover specialist areas such as salmon farms, fishing vessels, passenger ferries, water treatment facilities, distilleries and dairies.

The company is also certified for the design and installation of solar PV and air source heating systems and provides custom solutions for load control, grid connections and energy storage.


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