For 2018 Tomorrow’s Engineers week we had a guest from the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to find out what it is like to be an engineer at Direct Air & Pipework and in the compressed air industry.

Introducing Lottie!



On her first day, Lottie was inducted at our Coventry headquarters and was shown the ropes in our warehouse. A major part of this is health and safety and providing Lottie with her personal protective equipment (PPE) including safety helmet, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing and safety footwear.

All of our new apprentices are encouraged to spend time familiarising themselves with the variety of different compressed air equipment they will be working on out in the field, including compressors, dryers, filters, air receivers and condensate drains.

Lottie quickly understood that maintenance engineering also plays a key role in the manufacturing process, as if you don’t look after equipment it can quickly become broken. Every engineer plays a role!


After being paired up with Tom in our installation team, Lottie had an introduction to pipework. Today Lottie was helping the team carry out a pipework diversion for an automotive manufacturer.

The team work with a variety of different materials such as aluminium, galvanised steel and plastic, and in different conditions including outside, up on scissor-lift or in a compressor room. It was a chilly day outside, but the work was vital to the manufacturer, so our team worked hard to get the job done – brrrr!


It was time to hit the road! Being a service engineer is not an office-based role and gave Lottie a fantastic opportunity to get out and about to meet our customers.

We didn’t have a Lottie sized van available on the day, so she belted up with JT for a day of air quality testing.

On the way back to the office, Lottie answered a call from the office asking them to pop over to a customer with a broken-down compressor. They were able to assess the problem and organise for another engineer to bring over the spare parts to fix the problem.



Everyday something different happens and today was a day spent in the workshop. The air end for this L11 compressor needed replacing. Lottie received training directly from the compressor manufacturer so had the best knowledge available and access to genuine spares.


Lottie took a look at a different side of the business today with our project engineers. Our projects department work on many turnkey installations and design bespoke systems using the latest CADCAM design.

The team showed Lottie their engineering drawings as well as 2D and 3D design software. After seeing a compressed air installation in person earlier in the week, it was very impressive to see the design start on Andy’s software.

About #LottieTour

WES organises #LottieTour to show how varied and exciting it is to work in engineering. The aim of this project is to use STEM inspired dolls to capture the imagination of young boys and girls, and engage them in engineering and STEM more generally. Over 150 engineers, female and male from all over the world, have been involved in taking photos using Lottie Dolls borrowed from WES, coordinated by the WES Young Members’ Board.

Lottie has visited a number of engineering companies in the UK including National Grid, Balfour Beatty, Aston Martin and Arup, UK universities including the Open University and Heriot-Watt, and has been to Finland, USA and Dubai.

This project is being organised by WES YMB members Kate Mactear and Jo Douglas-Harris. Kate said, “It’s been great organising the Lottie Tour this year with Jo. We’ve had a huge response from volunteers keen to get involved with what we all believe is a fantastic project. We think the Lottie Tour is a great way to show young girls and boys that an engineer isn’t just the person who fixes your car or the builders on a building site, it’s so much more!”

WES President Dawn Childs added, “It is so important to inspire the next generation of engineers, particularly when there is an ever-burgeoning skills gap. Sparking that first flicker of interest and getting young minds engaged can be the spring board that is needed towards engineering as a career. The Lottie Tour is a fabulous way to provide that initial spark and to show the breadth of amazing things that engineers can do.”

Direct Air are delighted to support WES in this year’s campaign and if you’d like to find out more, visit the WES website.