A woman has proved she can cut it in a man’s world after becoming the first ever female to enter an international drilling and sawing competition.
Julie White, managing director of diamond drilling and sawing specialists D-Drill, based in Shilton, Coventry, has taken part in the national championships of the Tyrolit Cutting Pro Competition during a British Drilling and Sawing Association convention, Daventry.
Despite only having half-a-day’s training before the competition, White competed against the best in the country in the arts of wall sawing, core drilling and hand sawing for a chance to compete in the European championships.
The event was compered by Keith Chegwin and saw participants have their time taken for each of the three exercises and the participant with the fastest total time wins.
Every exercise is performed by two competitors on either side of a stage simultaneously.
And while she missed out on reaching the next stage, the dynamic driller far from disgraced herself, as she finished ahead of one or more of her masculine competitors in every category.
In fact White even managed to finish ahead of the defending champion from the previous two years in the core drilling section of the competition.
White, from Brinklow, said: “Despite being the managing director of a drilling company and being surrounded by a family in the industry I had never learnt to drill.
“This is a very male-dominated industry so two years ago, after I had taken over the company from my father Peter White, I promised I would have a go at this competition and I didn’t go back on my word.
“I was nervous at first but I took it quite light heartedly and ended up doing pretty well!
“Keith Chegwin was great as well, he gets the crowd going and he relaxed everyone with his jokes.
“All my female friends and my dad were there cheering me on as well, so it was a great day.”
In the wall sawing competition participants must saw a slice off a reinforced concrete block as quickly as possible using specialist heavy cutting equipment.
The core drilling exercise is a mixture of skill and experience where competitors must set up complex drilling equipment as quickly as possible before drilling a hole in a concrete block.
Finally the hand sawing category involves a disc being cut from a concrete tube using a 350mm diameter hand saw.
White recorded times of two minutes 37.86 seconds in wall sawing, two minutes 51.25 seconds in core drilling and just 43.75 seconds in hand sawing.
D-Drill employs over 150 people and has nine branches across England.
(Publiched in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Saturday 14th August 2010)