At the time of choosing my A levels, I was determined not to become an engineer…
It was a job my Dad had done, and I felt I had to make my own way in the world and not follow his path. Yet, I didn’t really know what an engineer was – despite my Dad having been one! Luckily I was saved from my ignorance by the Engineering Education Scheme. As part of my A level physics my school entered a team into the scheme, where students and their teacher with local companies to work on real, scientific, engineering and technological problems. My eyes were opened, and my understanding of what engineering is and does completely changed. Engineering is not dull and boring, and it does not have to mean getting grubby – unless you want to be in that part of the industry – engineering is about working together as a team to improve people’s lives. Engineering impacts everyone!
Since then I’ve been hooked on engineering, and love learning about everything human’s have managed to achieve. From space travel to sewage systems! Engineering opens up a secret world, where you can see things differently and understand why things are done in a certain way. I cannot walk down a staircase without thinking about how the height of the stairs have been designed to aid people in walking safely up and down them. Yet somewhere along the line this message has got confused, and it’s why I very nearly missed out on such an engaging career. I was lucky, others have not been so lucky. Their idea of engineering is still the same as mine used to be, they have yet to have their eyes opened to the impact they can have on the world by becoming an engineer.
An engineers aim is to improve people’s lives with innovation and technology. It is a world we all live in, and we are all impacted by engineering design many times a day – not that we have noticed! So we should be encouraging everyone to engage with it so the engineering decisions account for everyone, not just the minority doing the design. This is why I urge more females to challenge their prejudices about engineering, to find out more about the industry and maybe you might just realise what an exciting career opportunity it is!
Philippa Jefferis is a Graduate Civil Engineer who is passionate about sharing the world of engineering with others. Currently working for a company that designs structural repairs for rail bridges and other rail structures.
Talent 2030 is an ambitious campaign to encourage more talented young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering – including software development. We are particularly focused on inspiring more girls to consider careers in these sectors, working jointly with business and universities to undertake outreach into schools and colleges. For further Talent 2030 updates follow us on Twitter @Talent_2030.