The intention was that Marleen would only work for three weeks to offer support, but after nearly leaving three times Marleen has now been working for Van Beek for 12 years.
Marleen is a project manager. She talks enthusiastically about her job: “I enjoy my work so much because of the variety. You have to go to the client’s site regularly to measure for a conveyor, then I draw a design in 3D. Every design is customised and always different. So it always remains a challenge.” For every project Marleen remains involved from beginning to end and in contact with the client. “Lastly I am responsible for the final inspection in the factory. It is nice to see then how the design has been executed”.
Of all the employees in the metal sector in the Netherlands only one in ten is a woman. The majority of them work in support and administrative positions. Only a small proportion of these women (2.3%) actually also have a technical function in technology.
So Marleen, you really are quite an exception in your field and in the sector?
“Yes, I did not expect to go and work in technology, as a woman you don’t necessarily come into contact with technology, but I never shied away from it. That was fortunate, because after I obtained my VMBO (pre-vocational secondary education) Bread and Pastries diploma, I thought ‘I’m not going to do that!’ and by doing an extra year at C-D level in metal I opted for MTS (Secondary technical school training) in Mechanical Engineering.”
Can you imagine that women do not opt for a career in technology?
“Yes of course, it really is a man’s world. Some men are still not used to the fact that they may get to speak to a woman, they don’t expect it and assume that I am a secretary. Then I want to make an appointment to measure up and I am asked: Who is coming? Or: who are you bringing with you? Well, myself of course! And in Germany I think they really are not used to any women at all, because they stubbornly write to me as ‘Mr Verschoor-Muskens’.”
Finally Marleen reveals that she has her ‘own’ machine, Dino Bulk Truck Loader. 6 years ago she was the person who designed this mobile loader for bulk goods. “I think the design of our Dinos is tremendous fun because I have to apply various techniques such as electrical engineering, pneumatics, hydraulics and of course mechanical engineering. I really am in the right place at Van Beek, right from day one”.