Subscribe to MEM Magazine

MEM In-Motion

Rushlift GSE Supports International Women in Engineering Day


Rushlift GSE, the specialist airport ground support equipment and services provider, celebrated International Women in Engineering Day, 23rd June 2024, by recognising the important role women play in maintaining highly specialised vehicles and support equipment in the aviation sector.

Illustrating the company’s commitment to supporting women in the industry, Gemma Forshaw recently completed her first year of a three-year course to qualify as a Level 3 Motor Vehicle Service and Maintenance Technician (Heavy) under Rushlift GSE’s apprenticeship programme. The twenty-year-old trainee engineer works a four-day shift pattern with one day at Langley College where she learns the theory and principles of mechanical engineering in relation to vehicle maintenance.

Gaining practical experience is a core element of the Rushlift GSE apprenticeship programme. At the company’s Heathrow facilities Gemma, together with fellow apprentice Mattia Matarazzo (21), are mentored by highly experienced technicians on a wide variety of vehicle types from multiple manufacturers – from push-back tugs, tractors, electric baggage tugs and baggage carts, to steps, low loaders, belt loaders, ground power units and vans. Their work demands a thorough understanding of hydraulics and mechanics, along with an in-depth knowledge of advanced power technologies, such as biodiesel, electric and hybrid.

Gemma Forshaw says: “I’m very proud to be an apprentice engineer, learning all the essential skills needed to keep ground handling vehicles operating efficiently – it’s an important job that helps the fast turnaround of aircraft on the ramp, keeping passengers happy. Being an engineer is an exciting career with the opportunity to go far.”

A third apprentice training under the scheme works to the same high standards, and across a similarly broad range of vehicle types and makes, at Rushlift GSE’s new state-of-the-art Maintenance & Service facility at Gatwick Airport. In total over 40 service engineers work across Rushlift’s Heathrow and Gatwick sites.

Demonstrating that women have for many years been playing an important role in keeping Rushlift GSE’s ground handling equipment in tip-top condition is Harriet Bennett who has over 15 years’ experience as a fully qualified engineer. Harriet is a specialist on maintaining electric vehicles, including baggage tractors, a burgeoning field of GSE equipment.


Tim Willett, General Manager at Rushlift GSE, commented: “We wholeheartedly support International Women in Engineering Day 2024. As an organization heavily engaged in maintaining large fleets of very specialized equipment, we are keen to help individuals, women and men, who wish to become qualified maintenance engineers. In particular, there is a great need for young people keen to join our business – that’s why we are actively looking for young men and women who wish to join our apprenticeship programme.”

As a company committed to excellence, Rushlift GSE recognises the significance of training and development and the apprenticeship programme is designed to provide aspiring professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to excel in the GSE industry. With experienced mentors and access to a diverse range of equipment, Rushlift GSE apprentices gain valuable hands-on experience, enabling them to become proficient engineers. 

For further information on Rushlift GSE go to

About Rushlift

Rushlift is a specialist materials handling and airport ground support equipment supplier and service provider. The business supplies and services multiple brands of materials handling equipment and employs a team of over 200 highly skilled engineers operating nationwide from a fleet of networked service vehicles. Rushlift GSE offers the aviation industry a bespoke, single source solution, providing airport ground support equipment for any sized project.

Manufacturing & Engineering Magazine | The Home of Manufacturing Industry News

Share this post

Featured MEM In-Motion

Subscribe to MEM Newsletters!