Roni Savage, the UK’s only black woman to run her own engineering company has backed Apprentice finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton’s aim to get more women into top jobs in the male-dominated engineering and manufacturing sectors.
The environmental engineer who has run her own consultancy – Jomas Associates – for more than ten years – is the national lead representative of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) for Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics).
She has devoted much of her time to campaigning to get more women into her sector where only 12 per cent of the workforce are female. Roni actually took part in the filming of the final of The Apprentice when the two finalists – Scarlett Allen Horton and Carina Lepore – went head to head. Lord Sugar chose to invest in Carina’s baking business. However Scarlett has gone ahead to set up her specialist recruitment business Harper Fox Global.
Roni said: “I was delighted to be asked to take part in the filming of the final when the two candidates had to launch and pitch their business ideas.
“When I heard that Scarlett’s business idea was to create a recruitment company specialising in getting women into engineering and manufacturing and into top jobs, I was intrigued. I’ve campaigned to get more girls to consider the engineering sector as a fulfilling career path for some years.”
Roni was unable to talk about her involvement in the filming of The Apprentice final for several months.
“I’ve not been able to mention the fact that I was part of the expert audience for the final, which has been a challenge! It was fascinating to be part of the process, and I have been excited to see the final.
“Scarlett captured the essence of her business for me when she said ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’."
Roni has taken an active role in encouraging more women into STEM subjects through the FSB. She’s central to a 2020 initiative which will aim to identify inspirational business women in STEM.
“Mine is a very male-dominated sector, a sector which suffers skill shortages – the sector will benefit from having more women involved. Research has shown that diverse teams perform the best.
“To get more women, more diversity in the sector, we need role models. I will be contacting Scarlett to offer my support and hope she can join me – and vice versa – to work towards gender parity in my sector and in other sectors where women are grossly under-represented.”
Roni, has run her company Jomas Associates for more than ten years. Along with her team, she has provided geotechnical and environmental engineering services on various construction projects across the UK, including facilitating the remediation of several contaminated sites, reclaimed for land development. She is also on the Board of Trustees of the YMCA and is a doting mother to three sons.
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