The number of women who choose Engineering for their education and career path preference is on the rise. According to WISE*, women in core STEM occupations accounted for 900,000 women within the UK, with nearly 60,00 women in an engineering professional occupation in 2018. More needs to be done to get more women into technical roles, and whilst the sector has come some way and made progress – it’s important to recognise that this work needs to be done from a younger age.
My journey: The road to becoming an Engineer
From a young age, I have always had an interest in maths and science. In secondary school, I was unsure of what I intended to do in the future with this preference. I just knew that I enjoyed what I was studying particularly in classes that employed maths and physics knowledge. I was interested in various fields and it was hard to decide my future career path at that stage.
One day, I heard about the ‘Girls as Engineers’ campaign in my school, which promoted technical and engineering studies to attract more women into the industry. I took part in the “National Open Day – For Girls Only” event, held by the Gdansk University of Technology. I had the opportunity to see laboratories and to take part in the different workshops. That day opened my eyes to the field of engineering and sparked my desire to study at the Gdansk University of Technology. With hindsight, the campaign emphasised the need for more businesses and industry to attract highly trained women who bring a variety of skills to their job.
At first, I applied for Engineering studies, Management, and Production Engineering. Later, I decided to make my specialism in Manufacturing Engineering and Machine Maintenance. After sucessfully completing two competitive internships and upon finishing my master’s in Mechanical Engineering – I began work in manufacturing.
It has been one year and six months since I joined HSSMI. Currently, I am the only woman in my department, the Manufacturing New Technologies Team. Our statistics show that 18% of HSSMI technical employees are women, which is an increase from when I first joined considering the size of the company.
My technical specialism is ‘Electrification and Lean Manufacturing’ and I am based in the Birmingham office. I work on projects within the area of battery packs manufacturing and disassembly. I support automotive companies in process development for new assembly lines and increasing manufacturing capabilities. Each project is different and introduces me to new opportunities to see different products, approaches and meet new people.
I am looking forward to what my future at HSSMI looks like and I also encourage more women who are thinking about entering STEM, more specifically Engineering, to do so. What I have learnt and the projects I have worked on have all contributed to my development- not just as an engineer but also a person.
*https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/ data from September 2018
**This blog post has been written by Patrycja Papala and is intended for external use**