Coleg Gwent Female Tutors

International Women’s Day - Celebrating our inspirational female tutors


7 March 2022

At Coleg Gwent, we’re proud to be progressive and continually challenging gender stereotypes. That’s why this International Women’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate some of our wonderful female members of staff who work in traditionally male dominated industries. Read on for some insights from our female teaching staff including their biggest achievements and their advice to others who might want to follow in their footsteps.

Alexis Dabee SaltmarshAlexis Dabee Saltmarsh
Lecturer of Motorsports, Aeronautical and Composite Engineering, Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone

After graduating in Product Design, Alexis soon realised she wanted to educate and support young people, sharing her knowledge and passion for the constant changes and advancements in technology. This led her to complete her PGCE in secondary education in Design & Technology and she has since worked in a variety of teaching roles.

What is your biggest professional achievement to date?
My biggest achievement in my career is being recognised and respected in a field traditionally dominated by men. As an ethnic minority woman in this industry, I’ve seen significant changes and broken the stigma, demonstrating that women can be successful in this field of work.

What advice would you give to women looking to enter the industry?
I’d advise any woman looking to enter this industry as a career to identify which pathway they would enjoy. There are many different types of engineering jobs available and pursuing the right pathway will help in the long run.

Some female students are discouraged by the preconception that engineering consists of an “oily, dirty” environment using only lathes and milling machines. But there are numerous, exciting areas of engineering that need to be acknowledged in schools, to promote the fantastic opportunities that women can achieve in engineering disciplines.

What are the best things about the course that you teach on?
We have a talented team of lecturers on the course, helping to build a valuable and varied set of skills which will be beneficial for any learner looking to study our HNC course, attend university, sign up for apprenticeships, or begin their engineering career. Our supportive staff will guide you through your journey.

Li ManLi Man
Engineering Lecturer, Crosskeys

Li Man’s engineering career began with post-graduate study in precision engineering, with her work involving international travel to countries including the United States, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

The thought of becoming a teacher had always been at the back of Li’s mind. Having settled in Wales, she decided that the time was right to study the PcET teacher training, and she took on her role as engineering lecturer.

What are the best things about the engineering courses that you teach?
Engineers are practitioners who make things happen in the real world. Our department has many close links with industrial companies and partners for work experience or apprenticeship opportunities. Our courses provide theoretical and practical knowledge and skills, and allow our students to take advantage of the engineering expertise and facilities in the school.

What advice would you give to women looking to enter the industry?
Make sure to have a good foundation in Mathematics and Physics or STEM subjects in school. In engineering, there are plenty of positions or jobs that women engineers can do and be good at in our technology-driven society.

Kelly DaviesKelly Davies
Engineering Lecturer, Crosskeys

Kelly started her teaching career having served twelve years in the Royal Navy as a multi skilled, mechanical and electrical engineer, specialising in weapons. Whilst in the Navy she had a taste for teaching – something she realised was her passion. So, she turned into a career after leaving the service.

Are there any specific challenges you’ve encountered while working in male dominated industries?
Working in a male domineering environment doesn’t bother me as this is all I have been used to from the age of 16. It would be nice to see more female students coming through though, and the ones that I have had the pleasure to teach, I ensure I’m always supportive and encouraging. I love seeing female student within the engineering department and also seeing my learners thrive and gain apprenticeships.

What do you think are the biggest benefits for students who study at Coleg Gwent?
We have diverse range of teaching staff; most staff are not only teachers but are time served engineers. At Coleg Gwent we pride ourselves on workshop and laboratories with the latest technology. I always aim to build a good rapport with my learners from the very beginning, I get to know them on a personal level so I can ensure I meet all their needs.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in the engineering industry?
I always say you can achieve anything you put your mind to, but also things aren’t just handed to you on a plate, the more effort you put in the greater the rewards.

Our female staff inspire us everyday at Coleg Gwent, showing us that your career options are endless. Like many of our tutors across our five campuses, Alexis, Li and Kelly are experts in their fields, with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share from the industries they’ve work in. But they’re also paving the way for women to thrive in traditionally male-dominated industries, making our college a more inclusive place to study.

Find the right course for you and be inspired by our amazing tutors at our next open event. Register here: www.coleggwent.ac.uk/open